Sometimes computers are enough to make you swear.
Before I went back to university to finish my BSc and try to get into medical school, I had a few weeks here and there when I was “between jobs.” At the time I was doing some freelance reporting on an irregular basis with the CBC. I used my free time to teach myself how to type. It was laborious, repetitive, frustrating, but ultimately rewarding. As a result, since the mid 80’s, I am a competent, but not expert, touch typist.
This basic skill has come in very handy with the EMR. So useful, in fact, that I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to enter clinical notes by the “hunt and peck” typing method. I would imagine that it must feel something like the poor fellow depicted above.
A word to parents: make sure your kids take that typing course, or learn it on their own. In the long term, it’s one of the most useful skills they will ever acquire.
The American Journal of Emergency Medicine published a report in September of this year, that made some perhaps surprising revelations about how much time emergency room doctors spend at the keyboard. Clearly it’s a double edged sword. There are benefits with regard to orderly and legible record keeping, and in locating and reviewing existing data, as well as drawbacks in terms of time away from the bedside and the possibility of decreased departmental “throughput.”
If you would like to read a summary of the report, you will find it here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/811841