Enhanced Electronic Medical Records. They tell us we will love it eventually. At the beginning of week 2 that is hard to believe. Clearly the new software is a work in progress. Several key features have major bugs, mostly because the federal guidelines are still changing.
Healthcare Reform has mandated that we adopt Enhanced Electronic Medical Records. The enhancements will allow us to document compliance with numerous new reporting requirements. Many of the required reports have nothing to do with the patient’s current visit, but will enhance government statistics of overall trends in national health measures.
We now take blood pressures at each visit. In theory, I should then adjust the patient’s medications. In reality, we record the meds the patients say they are taking, and refer them back to the doctor managing the blood pressure. At some future date, when the government figures out how we all can share all medical information and yet keep all records private, my blood pressure readings will be available to that doctor.
Another goal is that all tests will be ordered electronically, with results coming back into the chart automatically, and with a reminder if they do not. We have to specify the date and location that the test will be done. If either of those does not work out, we need to cancell the original order and generate a new one with corrected information. We also need to record the reason the first planned test did not occur.
We just received one reprieve. ICD-10 (which increases the number of possible diagnoses we must choose from and link to every test, medication and treatment) has been postponed for a year. The current ICD-9 has about 40,000 diagnoses. ICD-10 will have over 500,000 to choose from. Now that’s progress.
Jay Ginther, MD