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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.
What about the physician, content to make a lot of money rather than a lot of money then some, who looks forward to maintaining his or her income while spending more time with each patient? We will never move back to the days of the kindly GP doing house calls. But we may well be moving to the time when physicians will be making preliminary exams of patients at home using computers and cameras, even taking their vital signs at a distance.

And what about the physician who, will not scorning the prospect of increased profits, looks forward to having a more rewarding personal life? The need to communicate has long imprisoned physicians, tethered them to their practices and to hospitals. In a way, they were like those criminals sentenced to stay at home with electronic monitoring devices locked to their ankles.

It is impossible to assign a quantitative value to freedom and a richer personal life, but it might well be the most valuable consequence to moving to EMR.

Is it possible to flip a dry fly onto the surface of a promising eddy and answer a query from a nurse over a sophisticated cell phone? Well no. You would have to pause for a minute to deal with your patient and answer your nurse’s questions. But if you’re lucky, the fish will still be there when you’re finished with the call. In the bad old pre-EMR days, you’d never have gotten to the creek in the first place.

Higher income. More freedom. In fact, EMR is a life changer.