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Tech Thoughts from a Hospital Bed

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, July 1, 2014

I awoke Tuesday with a drain in my side and no appendix. By Friday, I was also down one leather jacket. I had changed rooms twice since my surgery and forgotten I had even had the jacket when I arrived at the hospital. A check the following Monday yielded sympathy from staff, but no leather jacket.

But who am I to complain when I had just survived what can be a life-threatening condition? A month previously, I had embarked on a marathon cross-country business trip. To have this happen when I had safely returned home, a block from my doctor's office, has to qualify as a blessing.

My care at the hospital was attentive and responsive. I am so impressed by what nurses accomplish day after day, night after night. I was one of the younger patients on the floor, and some there naturally had much graver conditions than mine.

Although I've often advocated for patients, something about being near them and their suffering makes me open anew to their experiences and needs.

Thoughts on Tech
At Alameda Hospital, technology is present but not omnipresent. The 281-bed hospital, which sports 100 acute care beds, 35 sub acute beds, and 146 skilled nursing facility beds, recently became part of the Alameda Health System, a major public healthcare provider in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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2 comments on "Tech Thoughts from a Hospital Bed"


anita panganiban (7/2/2014 at 2:49 PM)
Hello! I hope you are recovering nicely, and I had the same experience. On my way to a conference, ER for a ruptured appendix, and my road was a longer one, complications, etc. Software driven care and patient room technology were of great interest to me! A healing touch, extra care, and advocacy on behalf of the patient is always personally driven, and those things mean the most. Best of luck in your recovery! Anita

Michael Jon Cohen M.D. (7/2/2014 at 2:41 PM)
I enjoyed reading your post. I would love to hear your thoughts on the clinical narrative as presented by the electronic medical record. From my standpoint and the overwhelming majority of my colleagues, the EMR is merely a data dump. Whereas a patient's course could previously be summarized in a succinct daily quarter page progress note, a day in the life of a EMR record is often many pages, and the reader has to search to cullout the important entries. EMR has obviously made some communication easier (no lost paper charts). It has failed miserably however in that it does not tell a story, has championed documentation over all, and with its lack of interoperability, has not lessened the cost of care.