If Only My EMR Were More Like A Video Game

Posted on Posted in DrDownload

That’s so amazing!  You noticed!  The DrDownload blog was becoming an echo chamber.  And I guess it’s true.  I have been pretty quiet lately.  Maybe it’s time to explain why.  I’ve been busy playing video games. Sort of… 

The practice has a new EMR (and that’s doctor-speak for electronic medical record.)  I’ve been “playing” it like a video game!  If you have kids of a certain age, you probably have video games in your home so you can appreciate my analogy.  Figuring out how the game works… understanding the story line.  Moving through the levels and scoring points, mastering the obstacles in your character’s way.  Leveling up.  That’s been my pass-time lately with this new platform so I haven’t been writing much.

It seems to me that electronic health records are a little like video games.  Or at least that’s how I’m coping with all the chaos created by moving data from one platform to another and figuring out where everything goes. Learning how data is stored in this new platform is key if I’m going to recall a child’s entire health story without having my nose buried in a computer screen throughout our visit.  It means that I’m working my way through all this programing like it’s a Zelda quest with the F1-Help key to offer clues to how the tool has evolved and been programmed over time.  I wish there were gold coins and weapons to collect because there are times that I’ve needed to trade them in for a spot at the front of the Support Helpline.

I’ve always been proud of our practice’s technology platform.  Ten years ago when we set out to create the ‘ideal’ doctor’s office for children, we knew technology would feature prominently.  We’ve always used an electronic medical record.  And then came “Meaningful Use.”  If you’re not familiar with that term, it’s an idea that government folks came up with to define how doctors should begin using computers in a meaningful way to improve healthcare.  It’s really complicated.  I’m glad I never signed up for ‘meaningful use’ because our team was already meaningfully using computer and smartphone tools, the ones that parents and patients told us they needed.  We text and email and LOVE social media!

Back in the echo chamber, this doctor could use your download of ideas.  I need your help thinking about how to best use our new charting system.  This new EMR was built just for kids with lots of features that should help us see the forest AND the trees of your child’s health.  How SHOULD we use this new tool to serve all the players:  parent, patient and pediatrician?  It’s time to think with me about your child’s health data and how accessing it can help you.  Thanks in advance for sending your thoughts.

Gayle Schrier Smith, MD


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