Regarding Charles Krauthammer’s June 5 column “ Why doctors quit, Chapter 2”: Yes, electronic medical records can take longer to fill out than paper. Also the “printed” information we must give every patient is much longer (and not necessarily better) than we had when we had paper charts. And most of us may never realize the full benefits of these large “databases.”
But EMRs have some definite safety benefits related to medications. With an EMR, there is no guess work trying to decipher someone’s handwriting. If a patient forgets to mention an allergy, the computer reminds me of it if I try to prescribe it. If I try to prescribe something that might interact with another medication the patient is on, I again get a reminder.
Does an EMR prevent all medication errors? No, nor will it as long as the users are human. But according to an Institute of Medicine Study done in 2006 1.5 million Americans are injured each year by medication errors. EMRs can help prevent many of these errors. Why then, after being given six years to prepare, would doctors leave medicine because they are being “forced” to switch to a safer system for prescribing? What happened to “first do no harm”?
Martha E. Dorroh
Board-certified family nurse practitioner