Some Light Reading: Health IT Articles From Around the Web

I’m a big Pinterest fan. When I meet someone who doesn’t have a Pinterest account I tell them, “Good! It will suck away all your time.” It’s by far my favorite way to squander time on the Web. For some reason, one painted rock pin can lead me down the Pinterest rabbit hole, and I will be on there for hours. One link leads me to another and to another and the next thing I know my computer has used up its battery charge.

This is probably the reason I try to avoid StumbleUpon. It has the same allure to me as Pinterest. One interesting thing leads me to another and another…. It’s another place I could spend all day reading article after article. But for you loyal readers, I’ve decided to put my time-management skills at risk and see where StumbleUpon would take me regarding Health IT info on the Web. Here are five articles that I hope you’ll read (or at least skim). I’m sharing my thoughts on them, and I know our readers have strong opinions, so please share them too. Love it or hate it, we want to hear your ideas!

  1. When Computers Come Between Doctors and Patients

    This New York Times article by Danielle Ofri, MD, talks about the common concern that  computers are a barrier to clinician-patient interaction. I’ve personally heard this concern from many health care providers. They feel like the computer is a “wall”  between the patient and provider, that the patients dislike the computer and the feeling that the technology makes the interaction less genuine.

    The more I hear this argument, the less I think it holds water. Maybe 10 years ago this was an issue but now people are so comfortable using computers, tablets and smartphones in their own lives that I don’t think a computer in health care is anxiety producing. I think patients don’t mind computers if the health care provider takes time to make eye-contact while asking questions and keeps the computer off to the side of the desk so they aren’t putting up a physical barrier.

    Remember those pre-computer days when patient assessments were kept on paper and a clipboard? We still heard complaints about providers not making eye-contact and focusing on reading-off questions, checking squares and having “poor bedside manner.” What do you think? Does the computer as a barrier argument still hold water?

  2.  E-Medical Records Get A Mobile, Open-Sourced Overhaul By White House Health Design Challenge Winners

    When I wrote the post, Revelations From the Field: EMR Design Advice From a Clinician, it got a some strong reactions. Well, this article
    E-Medical Records Get A Mobile, Open-Sourced Overhaul By White House Health Design Challenge Winners from TechCrunch makes a similar point to the one I was trying to make: EMR needs to be as easy to use and as visually appealing as Facebook.

    That’s what the White House’s Health Design Challenge was intended to do. The overall winner “Nightingale”  ditched confusing medication plans, unintuitive formatting and impersonal statistics. It really is a thing of beauty. It’s easy to follow and uses styling to make it easy to read. Patients see their results on a scale of “concerning” to “doing well” instead of as raw numbers. I hope people follow the Nightingale model and we start seeing more EMRs with similar designs. What do you think about EMR visual design and how they will look in the future?

  3. Why Digital Medical Records Could Save Your Life

    We live with our head in the clouds; every cloud has a sliver lining; or we’re on cloud nine. That’s where our medical records should be, too, up in the cloud. At least that’s what the article found on Mashable says and, frankly, I agree.

    As someone who visits different health care settings like hospitals, nursing homes and individual homes, I often find it difficult to get information. I don’t have computer access so I have to beg a nurse to print off pieces of the patient’s chart. I also can’t leave notes or recommendations in the computer so I have to hand write them. Last but not least I have to copy and/or fax the pages printed for me so I can take them back to my office.

    I can’t tell you how happy I would be if all EMR lived in one place in the cloud and there was a way all health care professionals could access them. What are your thoughts on health information being cloud-based?

  4. 101 Ways to Make Your EMR More Useful

    This cornucopia of tips can be used in every aspect of EMR use. There are tips to be used in the beginning stages of starting to shop around for a system to advice on what to do once the project is up and running. The tips are broken into the following sections: support, quality, finance, safety and efficiency. Plus, you can stop by the website HealthTechnica and share your own tips.

  5. Microsoft software to let patients see medical records

    Microsoft’s HealthVault Community Connect software is intended to give patients a place to view and store all their health record information. They can see lab results, physician notes and prescriptions all in one electronic spot. Users can also share this information with their various health care providers. Will it take off? I’m not sure.

    I’m all for patients having access to their health information, and I’m sure many health care providers would love to have easy access to other providers notes. But there are also many out there who don’t think patients should get all-access passes to their own health care information. They’re afraid patients won’t understand the information or will become upset by the notes. Do you think health care is ready and willing to let patients have ownership over their health information with a tool like HealthVault?

I hope some of these articles I stumbled upon get you thinking. And if you should trip over any goodies out there on the Web that you think we’d be interested in reading about please share!

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Jennifer Thew, RN, MSJ

Jennifer Thew, RN, MSJ, is a registered nurse and journalist who has covered healthcare issues and how they relate to the nursing profession. She began her nursing career as a neuroscience nurse at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and then transitioned to journalism after receiving a degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago. She has edited and written numerous articles on a wide range of nursing and healthcare topics like Accountable Care Organizations, evidence-based practice and telehealth.

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