I’ve ranted before about this but I’m feeling the compulsion to do it again. We have a new electronic documentation program called EPIC. I know, there’s some “epic jokes” out there, but I’m trying to be serious. This electronic documentation is suppose to be easier and faster. Heck, even Obama touted that it would free up more time for nurses and doctors to give better bedside care. Yep, it’s working all right. This new electronic system takes at least twice as much time to document the same stuff. But wait, we are not only required to take twice as long to “electronically document” the stuff that we do, we are still required to document stuff we do on the old fashioned paper forms too! Why does it take so long and why do we double document? Hmmm, well, first the program wasn’t written for, or by actual health care providers. It was written by business people for the sole purpose of cost capture and containment. Second, because it was written by the business people, they inherently don’t trust anyone… especially health care providers.
We’ve been using EPIC for a while now and we are still doing double documentation. Medical implants, for example, we are required to look up the stock number within the electronic database to find the correct implant that is suppose to be already pre-loaded into the electronic system. It never is. After a lengthy search, scrolling through thousands of supplies, that particular one that you’re looking for is not there. We end up putting it in as a “one time” supply, requiring even more documentation. Then we are required to document this on the old fashioned paper version “for accuracy.” Now, because of the new EPIC system, they have hired a host of new people in the business department who’s sole job is to review the electronic documentation and compare it to the paper record and look for errors or discrepancies between the two records. Now, I know that my hand writing is not the best. I thought that was one of things electronic documentation was suppose to clean up? Nope. I got an email just today from one of those “new hidden auditors” saying some whooie like “on your paper record, you seemed to have used a lower case ‘L’ when you should have used the numeral one in documenting the serial number to that spine implant on December 29th… You need to submit a correction right away… blah, blah, blah.
I find it amazing that Safe-Way has been using a barcode and laser scanner for years. They can effortlessly keep track of a single can of beans at 40 cents from truck to customer. We have to have an entire bureaucracy of business people and a multi-million dollar computer system and still hound nurses about manually writing down the serial numbers and prices to adequately charge for a product… even if that product is twenty thousand dollars each.
Oh well, vacation is officially over and it’s getting back to work once again.
Only five more months to go until my next time off.