Let’s not forget the patient

Recently I had the unfortunate experience of spending approximately 3 months between a hospital and a rehabilitation facility. I spent two weeks in ICU and a week in the CCU with my husband who was critically ill.

NEMT President Linda Allard

This particular hospital had a full-scale EMR system. Although I truly believe we need to embrace technology, what I learned from my experience is that being a family member in this type of facility was difficult. I felt as though I spent much of this time dealing with a computer, not a health practitioner.

Now I am no stranger to a computer and very comfortable being around them — after all, I spend the majority of my day on a computer. However, I do think that as we all move forward with our EMRs and bedside computers we must not forget the patient and their family.

Dealing with a critically ill patient is hard enough. Dealing with a critically ill patient and losing the connection with the doctors and nurses because they speak to the computer, type directly in and no longer have eye contact with you is even more difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that we need EMR systems in the hospital. I think doctors and other patient care providers need as immediate access to the record as possible. I know that having an electronic record can allow specialists to gain valuable insight into the patient quicker than a paper chart, especially when another doctor might have the chart checked out.

I just want my doctor to look at me. I need to see his face and understand if my husband, who is not able to speak to me, is ever going to again. I’m not going to see this and feel this when the doctor walks in, rolls the computer over and starts to read and then type in things as he speaks with me.

There needs to be some balance between the new technology and patient care. There needs to be a balance between doctors dictating reports and having them transcribed by a medical language professional and trying to save the hospital money by typing while with the patient.

As we watch medical records and health care evolve, we all need to remember no matter what our role is, that what we ultimately do is give good patient care and take care of patients in the best possible manner.

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About Linda Allard

Linda Allard is the president of NEMT.
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2 Responses to Let’s not forget the patient

  1. Bonnie Monico says:

    Hi Linda, loved this article and having spent the past 9 weeks in the hospital and then the rehab center with my mother and her 2nd hip replacement I can tell you there are holes and some big ones. Recently it took 13 steps to get a wrong allergy out of my mother’s record. I stood in amazement as I watched the nurse complete the 13 steps for an allergy that was never had by my mother. The one thing that I can say for at least her orthopedist is that he did not do any of the input into the EHR. When he was in the room with my mother he was there for her. Not saying that when he walked out he did not have someone else doing things for him but I know what you are talking about because I see it at my GP office is well. They walk in the room, they get behind the computer (at least I get a great view of the back side of the computer) and the box checking begins. The only person that touched me was the nurse to draw blood. For all we know I could have a huge tumor growing cause the physician never got near me not even to shake my hand when he left the room and all that for a 200.00 office visit. Boggles your mind doesn’t it?

    • Linda Allard says:

      Hi Bonnie, I’m so sorry to hear what you have been through. I appreciate your sharing. I had the same issue with having an admitting diagnosis changed. Everyone wanted me to leave it on the chart. My hope is that soon we will all come together and make the new technology and the “hands on” care work together so that it will help rather than hinder.

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