Changing EMR Again: Goodbye Greenway, Hello Epic

Changing EMR Again: Goodbye Greenway, Hello Epic

It was a Microsoft déjà vu: It was late 2019. Our clunky 18 year old EMR was not going to be supported anymore. We had a choice between Greenway’s “new and improved” product, Intergy, and starting over with something new. I cast my vote on eClinicalworks, a fairly simple product I had used in Bucksport. The conservative choice was to stick with the company we knew, so the decision was Greenway’s Intergy.

2 1/2 years later we were still limping along at half our previous productivity level and working without even a laboratory interface with the hospital that does the vast majority of our tests. Our providers were scrolling down endless lists to choose lab tests and x-rays with no search capability in the EMR that was supposed to be more modern.

Our suffering is now (supposedly) over, but replaced by the pains of starting over with something very different. We moved to Epic. One obvious advantage is that the hospital will have the same system, so there will be an interface. But I had heard comments like “working with Epic is like taking a semi to buy a quart of milk at the corner store”.

I have said this before: EMRs today are like VHS and Betamax of yore 100 times over. No inter-operability, and everybody waiting to see which format will become industry dominant, I am told.

So here I am, fumbling around in a system that may become the dominant player if it isn’t already. My first impression after a couple of weeks is that it really is a very large vehicle for the mostly simple errands I handle, and more complex than I need it to be. It is a funny mixture of unnecessary flexibility and annoying rigidity.

The flexibility is downright ludicrous: The system doesn’t import my assessment and plan into the office note by default. Why would anybody practicing medicine on planet earth not want that included in their office note?

Worst of all from my brief experience is the same as in other systems: the doctor is the first one to see the incoming reports, labs and imaging. It is a classic dilemma in electronic health records. I liken it to having the president open his own mail.

This new system supposedly helps me work smarter in terms of remembering who needs to go on aspirin and whatever, but it sure doesn’t let me use my team members to sort and prioritize information for me. That is a universal problem with healthcare today.

All the President’s Mail

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