I’m curious.  If we could survey American physicians of all specialities, in all locations, how many would have an empty ‘inbox’ on their electronic medical records system?

It seems to me that there is almost no way, with current EMR systems, to have an empty in-box.  There are always new charts we forget to complete, EKGs we didn’t document, orders we didn’t sign, mid-levels and students we failed to co-sign for, forms we didn’t complete (as hard as we tried).

In a sense, every shift is two shifts; patient care and data entry/chart completion.  Both require our attention, both are exhausting, intensive and all-encompassing, and each serves to distract us from the other.

And another thing:  we document so many things, and they are endlessly watched, from allergy warnings to billing data to ICD-10 codes (Bite from flaming squirrel on jet-ski, subsequent encounter.)

Who is reading and checking all of this?

I am comforted by the fact that doubtless, their inbox is also full.  But then, they aren’t seeing patients at the same time, are they?


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