As little as I know about him, there are many times I think about him...or at least make an association with his name. A matter of fact, it happens more often than I like, or any of us using our EHR. It’s that moment … when our patients are filling the lobby… and exam rooms...and backing up at the check out line. It’s the exact moment when we are about to click the yellow COMMIT button ….and then—NOTHING. The system has frozen up , maybe an hour glass is staring you in the face. And you feel helpless, stuck, and above all—FRUSTRATED.
On my end, it’s the constant ringing of the phone, the rush to contact our system support at Blue Ridge, and the back log of Help Desk tickets notifying us that the system is locked.
It’s that moment I think of Notorious...more specifically, the Notorious E.H.R.
But maybe we should all take a moment to reflect (and I include myself here) on life before the Notorious E.H.R. I would love to see a report on how many hours each of our offices spent tracking down paper charts for the next day’s clinic (especially the “lost” ones), and how many times we got frustrated trying to dig through especially large paper charts looking for the last year’s lab results. Or perhaps the hours spent dictating, transcribing, and faxing referral letters...and the money spent doing so. And have you ever tried to gather data tracked on paper? I’m sure the manpower, time, and money spent on major research projects was barely covered by the grant money applied for by the office staff. I don’t think any of you will be rapping a verse from Notorious B.I.G.’s track “Want That Old Thing Back.”
I say all of this because, as I read through the piles of literature on Meaningful Use, and as I hear the woes of so many Notorious E.H.R. users, and as I try to brainstorm better ways to support our excellent providers and clinic staff, I realize that we have come a long way. . . .and didn’t mama say “they’ll be days like this”? (Okay, so that’s not a Notorious B.I.G. song, but I’m sure his mama probably told him the same thing.)
Just the other day, one of my son’s teachers, after noticing my name badge, said to me, “I never thought I’d say ‘I love my doctors’, but I really do love my doctors.” She was referring to our providers at OB/GYN. She didn’t complain about the wait, she didn’t complain about the computers….all she saw was a great group of physicians providing the best of care.
So the next time the system freezes up, or the computer crashes, or whatever may bring to mind that Notorious E.H.R., try taking a deep breath, and maybe even rap a tune:
Sky is the limit and you know that you keep on/
Just keep on pressin on (Notorious B.I.G., 1997)