Computers haven't entirely done away with notes

Computers haven't entirely done away with notes

Healthcare workers still rely on pen and paper despite electronic medical records.
source-image
Sep 15, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Even with electronic medical record systems, healthcare providers continue using "pen and paper workarounds," according to a study appearing in the September issue of the International Journal of Medical Informatics.

The study, titled "Exploring the Persistence of Paper with the Electronic Health Record," shows doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and others have not relinquished their pen and pad, using notes stuck or taped to computer monitors, index cards, and even notebooks.

The most frequently cited reasons for using paper were efficiency and ease of use. Other reasons were to use as a memory aid and to alert others to new or important information. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, according to researchers. The study's lead researcher, Dr. Jason Saleem, of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, noted that as long as pen and paper workarounds do not circumvent the electronic medical record, creating the potential for a medical error, they may be used.

"Electronic medical records are instantly accessible to the healthcare team," he says. "But so much information is included in an electronic medical record, how does the individual healthcare provider pick out what is important at a specific time? Not all uses of paper are bad, and some may give us ideas on how to improve the interface between the healthcare provider and the electronic record."

The study looked at 20 healthcare workers at the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. Researchers found 125 instances of paper use, which fell into 11 categories.

Hot topics on dvm360

Follow dvm360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

For quick updates and to touch base with the editors of dvm360, Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Medicine, and Firstline, and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Sell veterinary clients on your service

But you don't have to have butler-style service to win new clients and keep existing clients happy.

Why veterinarians should be more like a Louisiana shoeshiner

If my veterinary clients feel half as good as I did after visiting the 'Michael Jordan of shoeshines,' I'll be thrilled.

Texts from your veterinary clinic cat

If your clinic cat had a cell phone and opposable thumbs, what would he or she text you?

Learning goodbye: Veterinarians fill a void by focusing on end of life care

Veterinarians dedicating their careers to hospice and euthansia medicine may be pioneering the profession's next specialty—at clients' request.