Electronic Medical Records: Friend or Foe?

As a nurse and nurse practitioner for over 19 years, I have seen many different forms of charting. My daughter graduated with her BSN in 2010 and was surprised to find there are still hospitals using paper charting. It was as difficult for her to adapt to paper charting as it was for us “oldies” to adapt to electronic medical records (EMR).

I have been on both sides of the coin. It is definitely easier to start a new job where electronic medical records are already implemented than to “go live” with a new system. Once the bugs are worked out, most nurses wonder how they ever charted without EMR.

As any floor nurse can tell you, for example, the many areas a patient’s blood sugar reading must be charted is exhausting to say the least;

1. The log book for the glucometer
2. The patient’s flow sheet
3. The patient’s nursing notes
4. The blood sugar flow sheet (often used for initial charting then transferred to all of the other places above)

In most EMRs the value needs only to be entered once and will populate all of the other areas that it is required. Even to the Dr.’s progress note, if programmed to do so.

As a legal nurse consultant, the enormity of the number of pages of electronically sent medical records for review is astonishing. Because the different values will populate the various required areas, this makes the records redundant for review.

What is your feedback regarding EMR? Friend or foe?
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