Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Friday, July 06, 2007

    So we have had... stuff going on. Quite a bit of stuff, actually. After over a year of planning/anticipation, my practice has moved to a new building. The move was a month ago and we are practically settled into our lovely new quarters, but it still doesn't feel like home to me. It's like missing the tatty, comfortable old bathrobe you used to wear until you were shamed into buying a new one (please tell me this has happened to you too). The most annoying part is that now the office is split into Upstairs/Downstairs, and the lunchroom is downstairs. So are the after-hours clinic, of which I am the director; the blood draw station; and the eye box (containing our rudimentary ophthalmologic equipment) and pulsoximeter. These are items we need several times a week, and to go galloping downstairs or to send a staff member for them holds everything up. I have already suggested to the office manager that we get duplicates for the upstairs office.

    The medical records department is newly set up with one of those Spacesaver filing systems, with the hand cranks on the side that let you roll the cabinets forward and back on their tracks to access charts. No doubt this system minimizes the risk of the shelving collapsing in case of earthquakes, but - as I already have found out more than once - you have to check for occupants before you start cranking. Otherwise you run the risk of reenacting the garbage masher scene from Star Wars with a hapless filer as the victim.

    Plus which, The Firm has decreed that we're going paperless. We are switching to an electronic medical records (EMR) system, which has been slowly rolling out for over a year. My office, now that we've moved, is the latest to undergo this ordeal. Currently we are in the "preload" stage, which involves each physician loading patient information into the system (such as allergies, medications, previous surgeries and so forth). Which is all fine and good, until you realize how many patients need to be preloaded; my list contained over six hundred names. "You can do it from home!" we were told blithely; "you can take the charts home with you and preload there!"

    No thanks, I thought. My computer service is not so great, plus I tend to get very distracted at home. This really doesn't work for me; I do better in the office. So this weekend I have resolved to come in and get a chunk of preloading done. This is the same resolution I have made for the last several weekends in a row, but we're running out of time. I will be coming in this weekend. But if you see several feverish blog posts in a row, you'll know why I was moved to communicate. The truth is, I would rather clean house or write a novel holding the pen in my teeth than load this information.

    On the up side, my house has never been cleaner.




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