Saturday, June 20, 2015

Paper Wins

I secured computer access for myself to the radiology database.  Access was possible for years, but nobody ever wanted it, the tech guy explained to me.  Now I can see what x-rays have already been done and what the results were.  This avoids duplicate orders.  If a test would be helpful but is not ordered, I can point this out to the physician.

My supervisor was displeased.  "Why do you need to see this information in a computer when it is available in the chart?"

Several reasons:

  • Charts are not in my work area.  I have to travel all over the hospital to get to the needed chart.
  • Not all test results make it into the chart.
  • The charts are a mess, with papers in the wrong sections, in random order instead of date order.  I have to look at every page until I find what I'm looking for.  Not finding what I'm looking for does not mean that it never happened.
  • The clerks do not have to file, and most don't, so test results sit in piles indefinitely.


She stared at me for a moment, gathering her brain cells and suspicions, and stated, confused, "So what you are telling me is that accessing test results on a computer is a time-saving measure?"

I was a bit surprised by her ability to draw an inference, but figured that she has probably heard that computers save time, yet she remains unconvinced of this notion.  I explained that it takes only a moment for me to check in the database every test done for the patient in the radiology department.

By the look of horror on her face, this sounded like Black Magic to her.  "Isn't it true," she proceeded to try to undermine my claims, "that all of this information that you can see on the computer is also available by picking up the phone and calling radiology?"  She stopped with a slight smile on her face, as if she won.

"Yes, you can call, stay on hold, and then try to convince the busy person who answers the phone to look up the information for you, after spelling the patient's name multiple times and repeating the birth date.  If a test is found, you need to fill out another form, fax it, and then wait for radiology to fax a copy of the result.  By viewing the tests and results directly on the computer, I can print whatever I need."

In a move so classical of this place, she turned the topic into Nurse Enid Harasses People.  "So this person who keeps you on hold forever, have you filed a formal complaint?  This is an extreme length to go through, gaining computer access, merely because someone tries their best to accommodate your unreasonable demands . . . "

I walked away.  I knew the conversation was doomed from the start.  She can't seriously think she is employable anywhere else with her aversion to computers.

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