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Tech Thoughts from a Hospital Bed

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, July 1, 2014

The narrative of the laparoscopic operation itself reads like something of a cliffhanger. I will spare you its entirety, but this passage will give you an idea:

"…There was evidence of perforation. The appendix was tenaciously adherent to the surrounding tissues. These adhesions were taken down carefully…"

To me, no ICD-10 code will ever be able to capture that near-poetry

After discharge, a week's rest was just what the doctor ordered. During that time, I saw some things pass my radar that made my eyebrows rise—still ten years to achieve healthcare interoperability? Really? Do we have that long?

But for now, I am glad to be on the mend, with a fresh perspective on the practice of medicine, the value of the medical record in whatever form, the value of the clinical narrative, the many small miracles that make our healthcare system continue, and the tireless work of so many to fulfill the promise of our system.

I have a new appreciation for just how important it is that we find a way to continue to modernize this system without losing those small but substantial things that give patients hope, dignity, and the best possible care.


Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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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.