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Revelation or revolt? Computers in health care

The computer age is here. Well, it’s been here for a while but not necessarily in the hospital setting. A big push this year is to get the “EMR” going…the Electronic Medical Record; which makes sense to me. You should be able to go to any doctor and not have to play some version of Groundhog Day reliving all your past medical history over and over.

But I wonder, in this push to have computerized physician order entry and medication administration and documentation, etc. etc., are we missing the forest for the trees? We just went to a new computer system at my hospital. Bells, whistles, and a marching band—the fanciest of the fancy. Lots of lucre spent on this system. It was touted to be safer and faster and better and all things {insert positive adjective here}.

I felt as though “they” were telling us that it would virtually eliminate mistakes. Are you ready for a shocker? We still have mistakes! They are just different kinds of mistakes; nothing will ever be error proof if you have a human involved and, healthcare, because of the nature of the beast, will probably always have humans involved. You know how some ideas were really good at the time and then you look back and say “what were we thinking?” (Just think back to every 80s fashion trend that ever existed). And there are some ideas that have revolutionized humanity (I don’t think we’d have gotten very far without that wheel idea). I am curious which one computerized health care will fall under? Best idea ever or akin to multi-colored scrunch socks?

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Rebekah Child

Rebekah Child attended the University of Southern California for her bachelor's in nursing and decided to brave the academic waters and return for her master's in nursing education, graduating in 2003 from Mount St. Mary's. Rebekah has also taught nursing clinical and theory at numerous Southern California nursing schools and has been an emergency nurse since 2002. She is currently one of the clinical educators for an emergency department in Southern California and a student (again!) in the doctoral program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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