Med One to One Summer/Fall twenty twenty-two ISSUE 72

KILLING BY KEYSTROKES

Technology equaling frustration? Will it cause you to quit or conquer?

Written By: Ibby Smith Stofer

Yesterday I was attempting to learn new software in order to combine input from multiple documents. As I struggled, and with each passing moment became more and more frustrated, I thought of the impact new software and technology must be having on my colleagues, but most importantly on clinicians and others in healthcare.

Over the years, the advancements in healthcare have always been promoted as simplifying or improving work. But do they? Are they another contributing factor to why so many clinicians are either leaving the profession, retiring, or seeking new opportunities outside the world of healthcare?

In my opinion, the most egregious introduction has been the electronic health record. We know that physicians are now encumbered with this technology and often spend more time looking at the computer screen then they do engaged with the patient.

Too many physicians spend on average less than 6 minutes with a patient who usually has had to wait 15 or more minutes in the waiting area, and 5-10 more minutes waiting in the exam room. An improvement? Most of us assume that the previous patient required more time, but physicians complain that the electronic medical software is the biggest offender keeping them tied down to paperwork.

Is it better to have them in the room on time for your appointment, or to have your medical record updated in real time? When asked this question, what is your reaction?

I don’t think there is an easy answer. What should have improved both interaction and tracking of care has too often accomplished neither. In talking to my boss, he shared that there was a saying of death by a thousand paper cuts before EMR. I think many in multiple industries would refer to today’s fast paced change as killing by keystrokes!

Many are lifelong learners. Some easily rise to a challenge and others simply dread the thought of all this change. Why can’t they just leave well enough alone, some may be asking. YouTube or website training may work for some, while others may be looking for or needing a more structured training. Though all who choose to stay working in their field will need to manage and embrace change, new tools, technology, and ways of doing their job.

Will I ever master the new software? Are there other ways to accomplish the task? Should I suffer in silence, spend significant time, and miss other deadlines? Those are the thoughts and questions I am wrestling with today. Killing by keystrokes does not sound appealing. Missing key responsibilities and deadlines does not seem to be a wise choice.

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All who choose to stay working in their field will need to manage and embrace change...

Some of you may be asking, why not just retire or quit? Throughout the USA, the phenomena of the Great Resignation has remained constant at around 40% of the workforce. There are many reasons beyond frustration that include desire for better pay, work life balance, flexible hours, independence, remote work, and even a desire to be your own boss. An article in Fortune relabeled it the Great Rethink. Things will continue to change. Both you and I will need to adapt, learn new things, and remain motivated and committed. What matters is how we choose to respond and react. Our work environments have already changed. Remember the Industrial Revolution? Perhaps the Great Rethink is simply the logical progression that has taken a while to unfold.

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