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Tech Thoughts from a Hospital Bed

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, July 1, 2014

Mostly I was smitten by the hospital's location, nestled between two lagoons on the island of Alameda, set back from the main street, with windows that opened, barely the sound of a siren, or even a car alarm. Twice a day, someone on a PA system asked for those with cars blocking the portable MRI van to move them. But that was made up for by the occasional sound of a passing ice cream truck.

As technology editor, of course I wanted to know everything about my condition as soon as possible. But the healing process isn't helped by checking one's online medical record every five minutes.

Those things that truly helped me heal often boiled down to things like the kind advice of a nurse to take ten deep breaths an hour, or my willingness to get up out of bed and walk, as determined to use my feet to improve my condition as if I were trying to induce labor.

Someone, I don't remember who, also cracked wise that under Obamacare, if I liked my appendix, I could keep my appendix. I smiled wanly and suggested that I was not as fond of my appendix as I used to be.

Just the Fax
That following Monday, as I tried to retrieve my lost jacket, I also was able to obtain a paper copy of my medical record, and to send a copy of it along to my primary care physician, via that old reliable, the fax machine.

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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.