Why Doctors Hate Their Computers

A good read:


Agreed. The article is already making the rounds at Regenstrief / Indiana University. Several groups at AMIA 2018 were investigating the correlation between provider burnout with EMR usage.

Some of my initial reactions to a very real problem…

  1. Learn to program and join biomedical informatics to work on solutions.
  2. Use scribes to augment interaction with the computer not replace it.
  3. Don’t let anyone make administrative decisions affecting clinical care unless they are actively providing clinical care themselves.
  4. Automate data collection for administrative purposes (rather than depending on providers to document it)
  5. Write notes that are clinically useful and force the care system to find other ways to meet their documentation requirements.

Few takeaways -

  • Doctors from developing countries learn from the mistakes of their counterparts in developed countries and participate to make seamless computerization happen as the cost of virtual scribes, AI etc will increase the healthcare cost.

  • Participating doctors act like Dr. Neil R. Malhotra, and actively participate in configuring Bahmni/EMR under consideration to meet their needs.

  • Glad that OpenMRS and Bahmni have set of APIs opening the possibilities of inclusion of newer and better features / implementations

  • Hope the good old school of Indian Medical system that helped to build complete trust with the “family doctor” (AKA PCPs(!) of the Western World) rules along with simpler EMRs.

After all EMRs are for patients!

Very very interesting read indeed. Nice to read from the perspective of the end users–healthcare workers in particular. Will also give us Africans some perspective while adopting these tech innovations in the provision of healthcare.

Not surprisingly I also had these reservations when I started considering deploying EMR in our institution. I thought about how easy it would be to adopt such methods considering the following:

  1. Quite a large number of medics have some aversion for computer literacy and would rather stick to just what they need for basic day to day personal use and researches.
  2. The presumed paucity of funds and poor maintenance culture of most developing countries and Nigeria specifically.
  3. The huge patient turnover at the various health facilities. Will it be time efficient to deploy and use EMR considering the number of patients each doctor has to see each day and that they would have to spend more time typing in the consultation details in the computer.
  4. Etc.

This is such a great article, thanks so much for sharing it.

Great article, yes it’ll help having more clinical providers in the design/decision process. Also in terms of features, less is more, in some cases.

Interesting article and an eye opener for me. I wish there was more clear and easy to read articles(and publications) on why projects fail - not because we want to add to the list but so that we can learn from implementers reflections on why they failed. Then following on to that - great examples on people reading of these failures and innovating to come up with solutions that work for the clinician and mostly for the patient too!