Still Betting your Life on Pen and Paper?
We have all heard the jokes about doctor penmanship—those quixotic medical scribbles that are unintelligible to the patient. We laugh it off, assuming that lab technicians and pharmacists will translate these medical orders properly. We assume that the pen and paper is safe, thereby assuming we are, too. Is this a safe assumption?
Misinterpreted scribbles are not a laughing matter. Illegibility is a serious problem with dangerous consequences. Drug allergies can be overlooked. Patients can receive incorrect dosages or even wrong medications. Ultimately, the pen and paper method of doctors’ orders is risky and slows an important process down. Sometimes the medical Rosetta Stone fails. But that does not happen to us. That happens to other people.
We have all been patients, and we will be again throughout our lives. If you think the pen and paper is a safe bet, then you might want to examine the odds a bit closer. Chances are you will change jobs, insurance carriers and, most importantly, doctors. Are you willing to risk your life on his or her penmanship?
Join Dr. Steven R. Gerst and Dr. Philip A. Smith on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 (5:00 PM – 6:00 PM PST) for a live discussion on how new technology is making us safer. Follow our discussion on Twitter with a live chat @BryanUniversity #BUShowcase.
Philip A. Smith, M.D., is the President of MedMorph, LLC providing consulting expertise to help hospitals,
physician practices, and health systems, better manage change on the front end of their major projects, helping them optimize their existing systems and processes. Dr. Smith was Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer for Adventist Health System and AHS Information services. He is responsible for medical leadership and physician adoption of clinical information systems (CIS) including computerized physician/provider order entry (CPOE). Prior to joining AHS in 2003, he served as a physician consultant with Cerner Corporation planning and implementing large scale clinical information systems and CPOE. Dr. Smith is the author of Making Computerized Provider Order Entry Work.
Dr. Steven R. Gerst is a graduate of the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University, earned his undergraduate and Master’s degree in Public Health and Hospital Administration from Columbia, his MBA from the Goizueta School of Business at Emory University in Atlanta and is completing a Doctorate in Finance and a Master’s in Taxation at Nova Southeastern University. He has also recently completed courses at the Harvard Business School, Law School and School of Public Health. Dr. Gerst is a Diplomat in the American College of Healthcare Executives.