News Headlines Article

Electronic Medical Records, Built For Efficiency, Often Backfire
National Public Radio

Electronic medical records were supposed to usher in the future of medicine.

Prescriptions would be beamed to the pharmacy. A doctor could call up patients’ medical histories anywhere, anytime. Nurses and doctors could easily find patients’ old lab results or last X-rays to see how they’re doing. The computer system could warn doctors about dangerous drug combinations before it was too late.

Many of those things are an everyday reality in doctors’ offices and hospitals across the country. But a survey of more than 400 internists with experience using electronic medical records, or EMRs, documents what doctors have complained about for years: computerized records chew up a lot of time.

Writing up a patient’s visit on the computer can take more time than you might expect. More than 60 percent of the doctors surveyed said that note writing took longer using computerized records than before they were implemented.