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Legibility: 20 Years in the Making

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, June 21, 2011

After that, the organization developed some homegrown word processing templates with some fields already filled out. Docs could fill in the blanks from their computers in neat Times New Roman 12 point type. Unfortunately, the documents weren't easily secured—and physicians weren't exactly thrilled with the idea of typing in passwords every time they created, opened, or closed a document. The idea of printing in block letters was starting to look pretty good.

That was in the late 90s. Finally, along comes the electronic medical record. Pre-populated fields, printouts as neat as a pin, and more secure storage than a "My Documents" folder.

That didn't exactly go off without a hitch either.

The funny thing is that the notes were so legible that everyone could read them—and could clearly see that the actual content of the notes wasn't particularly stellar—in part because physicians were cutting and pasting chunks of text over and over into document after document. 

So how did St. Mary's solve the problem? With evolving technology that combines speech recognition and pre-filled templates and that's integrated with medical records—it's automated documentation of a kind not possible nor imagined back in the 90s. You can read more about it—as well as the potential future of electronic notes—in this month's HealthLeaders magazine story: Speaking of Solutions.

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1 comments on "Legibility: 20 Years in the Making"


PolicyMedical (8/26/2011 at 12:38 PM)
<body>As a <a href="http://www.policymedical.com">policy management software vendor</a>, we often migrate our clients from a paper-based document management system to an online one. We find that there's always resistance at the beginning, from the hospital's frontline staff; learning a new system is always tedious, and some of the older staff members that didn't grow up with electronic systems can find this particularly hassling. But for the long term, the efficiency and convenience of making a paper process electronic trumps all initial doubts and pains. <p> ;</p>