Sunday, April 7, 2013

Online Shopping At Work, The Great Benefit Of Having An EMR

When our hospital went to all electronic medical records recently, we had to buy tons of new computers. This ensured that no impatient doctor or nurse ever had to wait for somebody to finish before they can log on and complete their patient charting. We now have multiple computer workstations in every conceivable location short of the bathroom.

But along with this new advance in patient care has come increased temptation. For you see, it is all too simple to start surfing and shopping on our powerful gigabit high speed internet connection. And many staffers do exactly that. You can see it on every ward and in every room. It's easy to find somebody who is logged into their Facebook account updating their status. Or they're shopping for new shoes and bags. Or they're checking out the cheapest tickets to Cancun.

Has all this new technology actually distracted us from our duty to diligently look after our patients?  While the goal of implementing EMR's is to improve patient care and prevent mistakes, I sometimes wonder if  the exact opposite is happening. People seem ever more distracted as they constantly seek out the nearest computer to sate their internet needs which in actuality is insatiable. Whether to check their emails that they last looked up five minutes ago or to find the best deal of the day for a refurbished iPad, non medical use of our computer system is rampant.

The hospital has put in some blocking software to prevent introducing viruses into the system. These mainly affect the foreign country and porn sites, not that I had ever looked of course. But if there were no blocking software I don't think most people would surf there anyway, mainly out of embarrassment of doing so in a public setting. I would think that they could easily block shopping and social media sites. But they don't. Maybe there are just too many for them to try to block in an ever evolving world wide web? Or maybe they are afraid that keeping the staff from misusing the computers will bring down morale? Perhaps they fear that people will just switch to their smart phones instead and start walking into walls since they are staring down at a four inch screen held at chest level.

Whatever the case our EMR is here to stay. And the shopping spree will not be denied.

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