With the World Series still top-of-mind for many people the New York Times published an Op-Ed piece that should be of interest to both healthcare providers and baseball fans alike. The article is called:
Currently, many hospitals are still relying on paper charts to record patient information. I use a pen to write down patient information that I think is relevant (which, as an orthopedic surgeon-in-training isn't all that much...). There are other binders that contain medication information and another clipboard that has patient vital signs recorded. To transfer that data to one database for analysis would be an epic and frustrating job.
An electronic medical record (EMR) could solve that problem (and will be here in Winnipeg at St. Boniface Hospital, where an EMR is currently being implemented). What isn't so easy to change is the attitude of providers. There's a fear of 'being watched' that even I get when I think about having my every move catalogued on an EMR. That being said, I know that analysing patient data will protect me and standardize my practice, probably improving patient outcomes and reducing medical errors.
Personally, I'd rather think about ways to advance medicine than try to remember thousands of drug dosages and treatment protocols. Having an EMR and data-driven medicine shouldn't feel like being watched by big brother...it should give physicians, nurses and other medical practitioners a sense of security, freedom and hope that we are improving the care of patients.
Coming soon: What should data-driven medicine use as potential measures of care. I'll think of some, but I also want to see what readers have to say. How would you track patient outcomes and care performance?