Electronic Record Keeping A Change That Has Some Doctors Cringing

Kristi L. Nelson | knoxnews.com | June 2, 2013

For more than 40 years, paper records have worked just fine for Dr. Bob Proffitt and his patients.

Proffitt, a primary care doctor in Maryville, has never seen a need to switch to electronic patient records, and he worries about their security, mentioning “social things relevant in the care of patient,” for example, that he wants to discuss but doesn’t necessarily want on a patient’s “record” for others to see.

“Another reason, it’s very easy for information to be lost, just to be wiped out,” he said. “I’m a little leery of that.”

Then there are the logistics. In a practice with longevity like Proffitt’s, “how current would you keep charts?” he asked. Do doctors go by the standard legal requirement — seven years — or longer? Proffitt has had thousands of patients over the years; even transferring the 400 or so “current” paper patient charts would be a big job, he said.