Once Doctor In Massachusetts Quits Practice Over EHR–He Stated He Just Couldn’t Get The Hang Of It
Posted May 03 2011 7:42pm
This is sad to lose an MD in practice over medical records and perhaps he will find work in healthcare in other areas where he feels more comfortable. This could happen to any doctors. Back a few years ago when I was still developing I saw frustration, anger and a bit of everything else and that is double fold when you are not just a trainer or sales person, but you have to write the code too.
I missed a flying printer one day by a few inches.One MD was that frustrated and upset and whether or not I answered his question, that printer was going to fly anyway and hit the floor with a nice boom and broke. Good thing about it though is printers are cheap.
Sometimes you should hear the language that goes on during the learning process, sounds about as bad as mine was when trying to work out a frustrating SQL statement, so it happens on all fronts. In the hospital areas scribes are really fitting in well, the so called temporary solution to help doctors have found a permanent home. About every 6 months a new story comes out and gives up an update and their numbers are rising, not going down.
Long and short of all of this when you walk around and follow in person in a doctor’s footsteps and are the one creating the software solutions, you spend a lot of time doing this and if you are smart, you watch every bit of it to try to create software that is designed to be as simple as you can with the least number of clicks. I screwed up too with my own ideas on what I thought was a good idea but was told later it sucked! So meeting of the minds again to see if there was anything good about it to be salvaged or whether or not I would start over. Most of the time there was salvage and I had to do some re-designing. Other times they wanted what I couldn’t do, whether it was my ability or privacy or other issues and so when I could not produce exactly what was wanted negotiation time again for me to try to figure out how to get as close as I could or say flat out say no, but that was rare.
The experience above is why today I am probably harder on developers with stuff that may be a bit illusion and not functional from the MD side, because it gets out there with non collaboration and both parties could have issues and it’s not always the slow doctors here as everyone seems to think. Sure a flying printer or 2 helps get through the stress but in the case of this doctor referenced here, I feel his stress and you know what his confidence level probably looks like about now? It’s probably edging on the low side as I realized a while back that as an IT person helping doctors, they have a ton load more education than I do and they are extremely intellectual people so when a computer kicks them in the butt, it’s a big deal as failure with technology and frustration makes them feel bad, whether they admit it or not, otherwise we would not have flying printers <grin>. As a partner too in writing software you have to know that and understand and see the amplification here as we are in a whole other world in that respect and may not see that side so as geeks don’t be stupid and careless and tout software as the answer to all problems in the world. Back in 2008 I said things were getting difficult so not much changed.
We have way too medical record systems with their own interfaces and I have mentioned the “Common User Interface” that is from CodePlex, free for anyone to use and at least have similar or the same screens with hospitals and with medical record systems in doctor’s offices, and I’m talking the data entry and information screens for the doctors as the rest could pretty much stay the same, so no new system to be developed, just screens! CodePlex is the open source area for Microsoft and the interface was created about 4 years ago, so how smart was that, pretty good I think as code heads see ahead. That is also what makes this blog different as I’m code head but hybrid in the fact that I spent 20 years in sales so you get a geek that never quits talking at times <grin>. I have an MD friend/developer in New Zealand, he liked it and worked with it and didn’t even write in a Microsoft language, so that takes care of that complaint. What kept this from happening here, marketing for the most part and too much competition.
I can guess that some doctors reading this post will probably laugh and say the cost of a printer was cheap to get through the learning process <grin>. On the other end we have more and more reports coming out trying to figure out why patients don’t’ do PHRs either, well duh…walk in someone’s shoes for a while and become a participant. Heck as consumers we are just getting our feet wet and have all these “experts” that don’t participate themselves trying to figure out how to motivate consumers and maybe themselves too in the process <grin>.
I feel bad for this doctor as like everyone else have we all been to the saturation point to where it just won’t work? If this is the only reason he is quitting that is sad. Patients don’t get the whole picture and it’s not pretty as what has happened with how they make their living anymore Marcus Welby choked about 20 years ago so you can wipe him out of memory. If one is going to be a doctor today, research is the play to be for less stress and better pay much of the time. Go to the link below and get an earful and get educated and watch the movie trailer to hear how it is for the average primary care MD today. BD
A family physician in eastern Massachusetts informed patients that he would cease practicing medicine because he couldn't get the hang of his three-physician group's electronic health record (EHR) system. That struggle had led to one- to two-hour waits for patients.
The physician, who did not return a request to be interviewed by SearchHealthIT.com, wrote in an April 12 letter to patients that the transition to EHR use had been "most difficult."
"Not being able to type and feeling very awkward in the use of computer documentation, ordering and billing have limited my ability to effectively and in a timely manner see my patients, return calls and send out lab reports," the physician wrote.
He went on to apologize for long patient waits and said he did not foresee his ability to achieve enough "familiarity and comfort" with EHR use to resolve the problem. Instead of continuing his practice, he concluded, he will "turn to rehabilitative and administrative aspects of medicine."