Doctors, nurses, med students, patients, we should be embarrassed.
Welcome 2007. You can email, send instant messages, order airline tickets in seconds, track that airplane as it flies across the globe, manage your calendar, work on documents and spreadsheets in real time with your friends and colleagues, even read newspapers from around the freaking globe. But our computerized medical records (or whatever you want to call them) can’t even print out labs in the right order. This is, in a word, ridonkulous. Hospitals and clinics should demand more. The big medical record makers should provide more. Their interfaces, truly, look like they’re from 1990.
I have spent a little over a year in hospitals, working as an upcoming doctor, and I’ve seen 8 completely different electronic medical records. (This is working at only 4 different hospitals.) Some are better than others, some are definitely worse than others. The government’s own Veterans’ Hospital’s CPRS software is probably the best, and honestly leaves much to be desired. (This is what it looks like.)
Over the year I’ve tried to collect ideas about the best features (and worst) of these different systems, and I’ve put them all together in something I call (for lack of better): the GMR (Grahamazon Medical Record). It’s an interface only–doesn’t actually save patient data (yet!)–but sadly, I think it’s lightyears ahead of what I’ve seen (and I live in Silicon Valley). It’s mainly a proof of concept–that this could be done, and can be done. (Note: It works in all modern browsers: IE7, Firefox, Safari.)
I’ve put together a screencast that walks you through some of the features. Watch it, and then play around with the interface. My goals, basically:
- Make the software work for you, not the other way around. I see many of my attendings bewildered when trying to figure out basic tasks on current systems.
- Make it make sense. Chemistry panels should come out in the right order. Information should be easy to find and accessible. Information that needs to be known quickly in an emergency should be easily displayed.
- Don’t act like a medical record. Act like a one-stop shop for getting hospital work done. Be context sensitive. Don’t make me call the operator to find out who’s on call. If a lab isn’t being processed, show me who to call for that lab.
- Be legible, and easy to process. I see too many people having to squint and strain to read their monitor.
Note: This is obviously not optimized code for efficiency, it’s my hacking-so-it-works Web 2.0 interface. It could definitely be improved, but it’s a start.
Feedback, as always, is appreciated. (Oh–forgot to mention in the video–you can easily access any of the tabs by doing “Ctrl+letter” on a Mac or “Alt+Letter” on a PC, using the underlined letter.)