The Medical Chart: Ground Zero For The Deterioration Of Patient Care

Val Jones | The Health Care Blog | April 25, 2014

...This week I’ve been considering how in-patient doctoring has changed since I was in medical school. Unfortunately, my experience is that most of the changes have been for the worse.  While we may have a larger variety of treatment options and better diagnostic capabilities, it seems that we have pursued them at the expense of the fundamentals of good patient care.

What use is a radio-isotope-tagged red blood cell nuclear scan if we forget to stop giving aspirin to someone with a gastrointestinal bleed?  At the risk of infecting my readers with a feeling of helplessness and depressed mood, I’d like to discuss my findings in a series posts. Here I’ll discuss why electronic medical charts have become ground zero for deteriorating patient care.

1. Medical notes are no longer used for effective communication, but for billing purposes. When I look back at the months of training I received at my alma mater regarding the proper structure of intelligent medical notes, I recall with nostalgia how beautiful they were. Each note was designed to present all the observed and collected data in a cohesive and logical format, justifying the physician’s assessment and treatment plan...