If you were asked what is quicker..the pen or the computer..would you believe me if I said the pen? We found that out at our little hospital this week on what I will call "Black" Monday. We went to all computerized medical charting. Sounds like a good idea right? The Government must think so because it will be required by law in 2014. I mean, would we be steered wrong by the Government?? This has taken many months to get set up. First there was the training of some of the staff to be "super users".They took special training on the system our hospital chose to use. Then they in turn trained the rest of the hospital on all the ins and outs. I can't go into all the workings of this because as a surgical technologist I don't really have to know a whole lot about using what we call a COW..computer on wheels. I'm the scrub nurse who works with the Docs doing the surgery and I don't have to chart. I'm thanking the Good Lord every day for this. Our productivity will be cut in half for about 2 weeks while all the kinks are worked out and all the staff is knowledgeable about using the COWS. After that, we will get more up to speed, but never as quick or as busy as we were using paper. So what does this mean? It means our hospital spent 9 million bucks to do this...it will take 12yrs to recoup it..and we will not make as much money or be able to help as many patients as before. Will this mean only the sickest will get treated first?..only the richest? only the most insured? Well, this is a new age and we don't know all the answers but I think I will not be as sad to retire someday..and I will always be grateful that I knew what it was like to work with Doctors who were allowed to practice good medicine and help people get well..Nurses who were allowed to provided patient care, not computer care, patients who were allowed to have procedures they needed done, and not be denied care by an insurance company. Docs who did not have to be computerized technicians who must take extra hours to log in and out. Doctors who actually could look you in the eye while they talked with you about your health concerns without a laptop in front of them while they click away never looking up at you. We have advanced in many areas of surgical care. I've been privileged to see this also. I have worked with and still do work with a great group of people who love what they do, are smart and quick thinkers, and who are trying to embrace this new way of charting with the hope that it will eventually be mastered so they can do what they do and love best...taking care of people.
Meet the C. O. W:
Because of the time it takes for data entry there is lots of this...an Operating Room bed just waiting to be filled..just sitting around empty and getting colder by the minute..just sitting there not earning it's keep!
There is lots of this...a surgery case all set up in an empty OR room just waiting for the patient to be ready..and all the computer data entered. It's been taking about an hour between cases to have all the info logged in. Hopefully someday it will go smoother, and quicker. It's already better today than it was on "black" Monday.
Some other things you will see...a nurse (Donna..Starkey Hollow)working while all around her are the other nurses (see Jen in the background) are logging stuff into the computer. And I guarantee that it's not a blog post!
So what's going on while the sheets get cold? This...sitting, waiting, and looking at the new electronic scheduling board. It tells us what surgeries are being done, where the patient is in the whole process, when the cases start, when they stop, and who won Wimbledon...OK, so I'm just kidding about the tennis.
Anyone out there ever live in the country? What do country kids do when they get bored? Ever hear of "Cow tipping"? Ok Kris..knock it off! If you don't know what cow tipping is..google it.
Here's Becky...She's one of our "Super Users"..she's a go-to computer know it all..when personnel is having a "cow" and gets stuck, she comes a running with the answers! Or just to get yelled at! Just keep on smiling girlfriend!
So where does all this computer business leave me?...Right here in my own little literary world. Dr. M came in the break room on the first day of the "go live" computer disaster and he found me doing this..his words were "Look at you Starko..all relaxed, reading a book, enjoying the day..." All I could say was "You betcha baby!" Now just go and leave me alone before I have a cow.