EMR Transition Pains

So, this EMR transition has been a little bit harder than I thought it would be.  Okay, that’s a lie.  It’s a lot harder!!

Not only am I trying to get back up to speed on what’s going on with my patients, I am also struggling to remember them! The paper chart, I realized, plays a huge role here.  When I look at their paper chart, I see it in the context of my notes. Looking back at a note, I can remember what the visit was like.  For example, once I looked back at a patient’s notes from 2 years ago, the visit popped into my head. I actually remembered the patient in my office, on the exam table.  Weird.  Anyway, so now that I’m using an EMR, I’m finding that my notes are far more abstract – I guess I am still not used to seeing my patients’ notes in the EMR like I was seeing the paper chart.  Does that make any sense?  I have had a few follow-up visits in the 6 weeks that I’ve been back and it’s been difficult to remember the visit.  I’m sure this will change over time but it’s pretty frustrating right now.  It’s really slowing me down.  Perhaps I should book less patients, that would be the smart thing to do, but inevitably that will make patients mad that they can’t be seen quickly and I have always prided myself on being the kind of family doctor that sees people the same week they call.  Sigh .. guess I just have to suck it up for a few more months.

And another think I thought would be so cool about EMR?  Checking labs and stuff from home!  Um.. not so much.  Now that I can, doesn’t mean that I should, right?  Where’s the line?  I never used to bring work home with me – now, it’s there whether I want it or not.  It’s so easy to open that web browser and log into the system.   Sure, I can get a lot done in the off hours, but I’m realizing it’s taking away from my “me time”.  For instance, I haven’t picked up my cross-stitching kits in over two months!  Must change that!

Everyone who has ever made the transition from paper chart to EMR says it takes up to 1-2 years before feeling completely comfortable.  I’m aiming for 6 months.  Do-able?  I’ll keep you posted.

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