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“Electronic Medical Records… have had some unintended consequences.”

A nurse entering electronic medical records

Dr. Leora Horwitz, an internist and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, authored an essay in the New York Times on November 22nd that argued, “The advent of electronic medical records has been a boon to patient safety and physician efficiency in many ways. But it has also brought with it a slew of ‘timesaving’ tricks that have had some unintended consequences. These tricks make it so easy for doctors to document the results of standard exams and conversations with patients that it appears more and more of them are being documented without ever having happened in the first place.” She also contended, “In short, reading the electronic chart has become a game of looking for a small needle of new information in a haystack of falsely comprehensive documentation and outdated, copied text. Why do we doctors do this to ourselves? Largely, it turns out, for the same reason most people do most things: money.” Letters in response to Dr. Horwitz’s essay appear in Monday’s issue of the paper.

Original Essay

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