Medical Practice

I Am a Decision Maker, Not a Bookkeeper

By HANS DUVEFELT

Perhaps it is because I love doctoring so much that I find some of the tools and tasks of my trade so tediously frustrating. I keep wishing the technology I work with wasn’t so painfully inept.

On my 2016 iPhone SE I can authorize a purchase, a download or a money transfer by placing my thumb on the home button.

In my EMR, when I get a message (also called “TASK” – ugh) from the surgical department that reads “patient is due for 5-year repeat colonoscopy and needs [insurance] referral”, things are a lot more complicated, WHICH THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BE! For this routine task, I can’t just click a “yes” or “authorize” button (which I am absolutely sure is a trackable event in the innards of “logs” all EMRs have).

Instead, (as I often lament), I have to go through a slow and cumbersome process of creating a non-billable encounter, finding the diagnostic code for colon cancer screening, clicking on REFERRAL, then SURGEON – COLONOSCOPY, then freetexting “5 year colonoscopy recall”, then choosing where to send this “TASK”, namely the referral coordinator and , finally, getting back to the original request in order to respond “DONE”.

The authorization for the colonoscopy referral does require my clinical judgement: My patient may not be medically stable for their routine colonoscopy because of a recent heart attack, or they may have already had a diagnostic colonoscopy at another hospital because of a GI bleed, or they may now have a terminal illness that makes screening for colon cancer moot.

But, please – when we can land robots on Mars – give me an easier way to say “yes” or “no” in my multimillion dollar system!

Hans Duvefelt is a Swedish-born rural Family Physician in Maine. This post originally appeared on his blog, A Country Doctor Writes, here.

Spread the love