The internet has become life or death to millions. This is not an exaggeration. Our representatives in the United States Government, paid by Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software companies, mandated doctors participate in this scheme of records management. Doctors must use software, integrally linked into the internet, to provide daily care. (We still can’t share information with each other… but that’s for another rant…..) Otherwise, Medicare will cut the pay of any doctor who chooses to stay with paper.
What if you are distrustful and want to keep a paper backup in case the EMR dies? NO! Even my malpractice insurance carrier calls such a backup perilous and confusing. Such duplication violates “best practices.” Use the safety tools in your computer system! “Trust us! We got your back! Paper is unreliable and gets lost!”
Yet, we do it anyway. Why?
Because the internet is a mess! Computers suddenly act strange. Ransomware predators lurk in the shadows. Sites go down without warning. “Put your trust in the cloud! It’s the only safe way! Computer prescribing and records will keep patients safer than ever before! Don’t live in the dangerous past!”
Well, yesterday, Amazon Web Services had a huge outage. This was not simply an outage that temporarily slowed your Amazon Prime web browsing. Companies relied on Amazon Web Services for their day to day function. Unfortunately, one of these companies was our EMR provider. This means, at mid-day, we were dead in the water. Our schedule and all of our patient notes were inaccessible. No medical records equals no medical care. Period. End of story. Game over!
You can’t see patients. You can’t even answer the phone! You have no idea who is walking in the door for their scheduled visit. You might as well close the office and turn off the phones.
But we had our paper backup. This was the same paper backup we maintained despite our malpractice carrier’s warnings that we were tempting epic disasters.
So, yesterday, with my computer sitting like a gigantic paperweight for a couple of hours, I grabbed a pen and a new device called…. “paper”… and went to work.
Nobody died. Nobody got hurt.
Amazon failed us. Our EMR failed us. Our trusty pen and paper backup charts saved us.
The time is now to scream: “OUR COMPUTER INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE IS NOT READY FOR ALL OF THIS! STOP THE INSANITY! IT IS TOO INSECURE AND TOO UNRELIABLE! WAKE UP!!!”Tweet