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DOCtalk by Dr. Gregg 11/17/12

November 17, 2012 News 1 Comment

International Paper Co. Merges with Bic Pen to Build EHR

Now there’s a headline I just might love.

Why? Because it occurred to me that back in the days of paper and pen, I never once thought about the financial stability of the companies that provided the tools for documenting my trade. Those companies just seemed so rock solid, so just “always there.”

Seriously…for any of you who’ve been around long enough, did you ever once worry about the market status or potential acquisitions of Mead Paper or Pilot Pens? Did you ever have to consider pen technical support or paper training sessions? Did you ever think about what would happen if your pen supplier went belly up?

Remember when “system downtime” was a break for lunch?

I was conversing with perhaps the wisest and savviest person I know the other day when this thought occurred. (He’s HIT smart, yes, but generally all around brilliant, too … and even comes with a charmingly mannered personality.) I was picking his brain about some potential EHRs and he helped walk me through some of the current industry status for factors anyone must consider these days when thinking about their HIT needs, such as:

  • Company financial viability
  • Stock prices
  • Market forces
  • Potential for acquisition
  • R&D resources
  • Corporate culture
  • Future technological anticipations
  • Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

Granted, my brain is now fuzzed with age, silicon dust, and/or lack of sleep, but I’m pretty sure I never used to have to consider such commercial concepts when trying to document patient care. And, I know my practitioner predecessors never once gave a single thought to any of these factors when trying to provide healthcare services.

Having been through the private and public corporate acquisition mills, having had my choice of digital documentation deleted, and having lost countless hours of family time trying to interpret the HIT tea leaves, it has become clear to me that I am spending far too much of my professional life thinking about and doing things that I never anticipated and for which I was miserably undereducated in school. The “learn as you go” for this new side of healthcare considerations has been… well… interesting.

So, would the footprint of our old friends, the pen and paper manufacturers, help relieve this corporate chaos which HIT hath wrought upon healthcare provision? Naaaah. But the nostalgia for those carefree days of documentation is such an agreeable daydream…

…until I remember I can barely read my own handwriting.

Everything’s a tradeoff.

From the trenches…

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.” – Norbet Platt

Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician at Madison Pediatrics, is Chief Medical Officer for Health Nuts Media, directs the Pediatric Office of Today! exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and sits on the board of directors of the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP).

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