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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.
And more recently, we witnessed a real estate bubble that has… But that sorry tale is too long and dreary to detail here. By now we all have a good idea what happened.

So what does this have to do with shopping for EMR? Everything.

The lesson is that you should think for yourself. Just because you see an advertisement for this or that vendor everywhere in professional publications doesn’t mean it’s the best. The crowd is not always right. Think for yourself.

When you diagnose a disease, you proceed logically. You don’t have to be Dr. House. You check the patient’s urine or blood as necessary or give him or her an x-ray or whatever other diagnostic test is called for under the circumstances. You might sit down at a computer to check what you found with a relevant data base. That is, you proceed logically.

The same is true for shopping for EMR. Ask yourself what you need and how much you can afford. Look around. If you’re in a convention or other large gathering of physicians, remember that unless you keep your head you are at risk of contracting the virulent, debilitating MOPGIN (Madness of Physicians Gathered in Number.) It affects the brain and is wildly contagious, but it is treatable with common sense.
What should you be looking for in EMR?
  • Something you need and afford, not something that is merely fashionable. Remember the tulip bulb mania.
  • The vendor should have some experience, and its software should be designed with the input of doctors.
  • It should be easy for cranky old docs to beginning receptionists to use and understand.
  • It should have linked, integrated EMR and PM.
  • You should be able easily and quickly change the forms and charts to fit your personal preferences and professional requirements.
  • The vendor should treat you as a colleague and friend, not as an income stream, and serve your needs with help and assistance when you need it. Try out the software yourself. Any vendor that you would want will give you a chance to sit down and see for yourself how its system works. Also ask a physician who uses that system.