After that, the organization developed some homegrown word processing templates with some fields already filled out. Docs could fill in the blanks from their computers in neat Times New Roman 12 point type. Unfortunately, the documents weren't easily secured—and physicians weren't exactly thrilled with the idea of typing in passwords every time they created, opened, or closed a document. The idea of printing in block letters was starting to look pretty good.
That was in the late 90s. Finally, along comes the electronic medical record. Pre-populated fields, printouts as neat as a pin, and more secure storage than a "My Documents" folder.
The funny thing is that the notes were so legible that everyone could read them—and could clearly see that the actual content of the notes wasn't particularly stellar—in part because physicians were cutting and pasting chunks of text over and over into document after document.
So how did St. Mary's solve the problem? With evolving technology that combines speech recognition and pre-filled templates and that's integrated with medical records—it's automated documentation of a kind not possible nor imagined back in the 90s. You can read more about it—as well as the potential future of electronic notes—in this month's HealthLeaders magazine story: Speaking of Solutions.