Rural Doctor Resurrects Health Clinic, Embraces EHR

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , November 11, 2010

Even though she doesn't use a wheelchair, pain and exhaustion shadow her daily routine. To this day, she isn't sure if she had rheumatoid arthritis or not. "They say it was a misdiagnosis," she says. There was a possibility it was Lyme disease, Brooks adds.

She begins each day at 5:30 a.m. and usually ends it at 7:30 p.m. She sees her patients, but knows that she must take time off each day so her body recuperates. "If I wash the car, for example, and I don't lie down, the muscles ache all afternoon," Brooks says. " If I take a 10 minute break, I'm OK," she says. When her colleagues sit down for lunch, "I go home and take a nap," she says.

Although she is being dubbed the "high tech nun" in the community, Brooks says, in effect: Let's not be ridiculous.

Brooks acknowledges that she straddles between the old world, of print, and the electronic era. She still makes house calls, and in those situations, she sticks to her notebook and pad, with a clipboard, and still relies occasionally on simply keeping information stored in her head, not a computer.

 "I like to draw pictures and need to write stuff down," she says.

Still, Brooks has dreams for her clinic to one day to fully coordinate computer technology with nearby hospital labs where "everyone's data entries would be dumped to make things easier," she says.

Ah, she says. "I'd do it one of these days if we found a rich uncle."

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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