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One of the greatest books on economics ever written, but little known by most Americans, is Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, published in 1841. In it Makay chartered the craziness of bubbles up to his time. Those included the Dutch tulip mania of the early 17th Century in which tulip bulbs were bought and sold with mindless abandon that in the end destroyed fortunes.

Remember the Japanese real estate bubble? There was a time during which the Japanese claimed the value of the real estate in Tokyo exceeded the value of all the real estate in North America. That’s right! They said this with a straight face and wound up enduring a recession that lasted more than a decade. And we all witnessed the witless dot com bubble in which ads for day trading software were common on television.

EMR - A Life Changer

What is the most important consequence of moving to EMR? Is it making money, that is, more profit from increased efficiency—the ability to see more patients in one day? For some, the logic is simple: a practice made X dollars before EMR and Y dollars after EMR. If Y exceeds X then EMR is a good thing. If it does not, then EMR is an unnecessary pain in the behind.

It is less easy to express the qualitative benefits, but we are all aware of what they are.

EMR Lingo: Seamless, Redundant, and Flexible

On these forums and blogs having to do with EMR, there are certain buzz words, lingo that writers like to throw around, assuming that we all know what they're talking about.

Three of these terms are “seamless”, “redundant”, and “flexible.” Exactly what do they mean?

EMR Battle

In the 17th and 18th century when the British and French fleets clashed for control of the English channel and control of the Mediterranean Sea, the British inevitably came out the victor. Why was that? What was the secret of the British warships under the command of Admiral Nelson and other storied sailors?

Alfred T. Mahan in his famous book The Influence of Sea Power Upon History suggests it was because the French insisted that all the captains take orders from the admiral in his flagship. The French captains used flags to communicate with their commander. The English trained their captains to think for themselves and to adjust to the changing conditions of battle—shifts of the wind, vision blocked by the smoke of belching cannons, unexpected losses, unanticipated opportunities, and the rest of it. The English admiral set the overall strategy, but understood that his well-trained captains, in the heat of battle, had to make it work.

Form Follows Function

It is a principle made famous by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Form follows function. Wright looked at the two-story farm houses poking out from the flat Midwestern landscape like loopy mushrooms. Dumb. He thought, hey, a house on a flat landscape should be low, hug the ground, hence the precursors of the modern ranch-style house. He also chucked the cupolas and all the decorative gingerbread that we associate with Victorian architecture. Think of the lean, clean furniture made by the Shakers or that made and marketed by Scandinavians. A chair is something to sit on, not pretend it resembles a chair that once cradled Charlemagne's butt.

Form follows function. What does this have to do with EMR? A lot.