Pros and Cons Of Computer Charting

So, computer charting is nice. It gives us healthcare people access to so much information. It makes our charting easier. And it improves safety, or so they say. This is because we scan you before giving medicines or drawing your blood. It’s kind of nice. But, there are drawbacks too. Here are some of my thoughts about computer charting.

Some pros and cons

Pro

Information about you at our fingertips. This is nice. Before computer charting, we had to wait to get to your paper chart. Who knows where it might be? Who knows whose hands it might be in. Sometimes, it would be hours before we’d get to it. Not anymore. Now we just click on an icon and there’s your information. Or, now we just scan you and up pops your information. Nice.

Con

Spending too much time looking at the computer. I have had more than one patient complain about this. They say their doctor brings in a computer. “He spends 90% of his time looking at it, rather than at me?” That’s not good. While computers are nice, it’s important to always put the patient first.

Pro

So, you want to learn about COPD. I can print up a sheet with information. Or, better yet, I can show you a video. I have done this a few times, and my patients find it very helpful. There are many new inhalers on the market. How to work each one is different. Sometimes I don’t even know how to work one. When this happens, I watch a video with my patient. We learn together.

Con

Quick answers to your questions. So, you wonder what your x-ray looks like. You wonder what your lab results were. As soon as these tests are complete, they are automatically entered into the computer system. Your doctor has access to the right on his screen. They may even pop up as soon as she opens the chart. So, your answers are right there easy to find.

Pro

They improve patient safety. We walk into your room. We have a needle in our grasp. Or, some other invasive piece of equipment. We draw your blood. Oops. Wrong patient. It was rare that that ever happened before. But it did happen sometimes. That shouldn’t happen anymore due to computer charting. Now, we walk into your room. We scan you. Your name and information pop up on the screen. That, along with asking, “What’s your last name?” Even if you can’t answer, we now know we have the right patient.

Con

They may slow down point of care. This is so annoying. You turn on the computer. You click on the chart. That little circle, or hourglass, spins and spins and spins and spins. You have no choice but to stand there waiting. All the while, your patient is short of breath and just wants his breathing treatment. So, sometimes it does slow us down like this. It’s annoying for you. It’s annoying for us too, believe me.

What to make of this?

So, these are just a few pros and cons of our modern computer system. It’s actually pretty nice, I have to say. But, it can slow you down. It can take you away from your patient. So, we have to be careful.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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