Welcome to the Paperless Office --NOT--
Some of my charts were reviewed today by a very nice lady working for a company that reviews medical charts for insurance companies. I was told they need to justify medical care received by patients with information from their medical records. One example was that everyone who has ever had their serum protein measured (meaning everyone who's ever gotten liver function tests, which include serum protein, and a comprehensive metabolic profile, which includes liver function tests) need to have their chart reviewed to see if they have documentation of a bedsore. (She tried to explain it; I still didn't get it.)
She came. She sat. She unpacked her laptop computer, set it up and plugged it in. Then she unpacked her spiffy little portable scanner, about the size and shape of a three-hole punch, which she used to scan progress notes from my paper charts into her computer. It was the only way she was allowed to enter the information into her computer, she said.
I mentioned how much easier her job would be in a paperless office. If only I had an electronic medical record, all I'd have to do would be copy the information she wanted onto a CD, or even a thumb drive, if her laptop didn't have a CD drive. Then she could plug it into her machine, click and drag a few things and she'd be all done. After all, wasn't that the promise of the paperless office? (Actually, such an office could just email the information directly to the reviewing company; never mind having to pay for the reviewer's gas and expenses to come all the way out to my office.)
Oh no, she replied. Here is what she is required to do in offices with EMRs:
Each entry in the medical record within the designated time frame must be printed out (on...say it with me, boys and girls...PAPER) for her to feed through her spiffy little portable scanner, one page at a time, to enter the information into her computer.
Guess what happens next? (You just know what's coming...)
All those printouts must then be shredded.
Someone tell me again how much more efficient and environmentally friendly the paperless office is going to make us all?