I got a laugh out of John Hickner, MD who is the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Family Practice. He wrote an editorial in response to his last editorial where he defended EMRs. He describes how you can prosper with an EMR by having “someone else do most of the data entry.” This is what he describes as “team care”, which typically involves assigning at least 2 medical assistants (MAs) to each physician, along with an RN or LPN whose time is often divided among 2 or 3 doctors. Really? What team is that? The NY Yankees? Hickner goes on to say that all you need to do is make an MA serve as a scribe and have her update the patient’s medical history and enter presenting symptoms in the EMR before the physician even enters the room. “The MA remains in the room while the physician examines the patient, entering orders and physical findings, and remains there after the physician is done to close the visit, issue instructions, and ensure that the patient has the prescriptions or orders for tests that he or she needs.” Okay, so where do you get this extra MA? He doesn’t say but explains that if you had one it would free up the 2 to 3 hours per day that the EMRs added to your workload of doctors. Someone needs to tell the good doctor that most employed docs don’t get these luxuries and self-employed doctors can’t afford them. What a bozo.
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