One afternoon several years ago, I found myself faced with an unexpected challenge while seeing patients in clinic. The hospital had just put in effect an electronic medical records system, or EMR, and along with the dozens of shiny new computer terminals installed in nursing stations on every ward came the promise of fewer missing charts, streamlined information and efficient work-flow patterns for all. By the time the first computers were finally installed in exam rooms, my colleagues and I were already fluent enough in the system’s software that we were creating and trading order sets, progress note templates and clinical checklists like kids exchanging baseball cards and CDs.
For someone who likes to imagine herself as tech savvy, it was a heady moment.
But that afternoon as I settled in to see my first clinic patient, I realized I had no idea where to sit.