Friday, November 19, 2010

UnGreen Medical Records and Other Work Stuff

At work, we have to assemble admission packs consisting of papers that need to be in a patient’s chart. There are two packs that we make. The first one goes in a binder and the other goes in a folder. The patients have to sign the papers in the folder when they get admitted, and the staff has to witness their signatures. The rest of the papers in the binder are where the nurses, doctors, recreational therapists, and caseworkers do their documentation. After the patients sign the papers, they are filed in the aforementioned binder.
Here is the problem: in a world where people are attempting to be more “green” and try to conserve natural resources, the psych unit in our hospital has the most paperwork I’ve ever seen ever since I started working in the psych field (even after a couple of forms have been eliminated). Case in point: the first chart pack consists of 30 different forms (some with multiple pages), some are NCR (no carbon required) paper with 1 or 2 duplicates, and the others are single sheets. Out of those 30, 5 forms need to be doubled, meaning we have to put 2 of those forms in the chart, so that makes 35 altogether. The other pack consists of 18 different forms and most of them are NCR. That makes a total of 53 forms to make one chart! That’s before the face sheets, insurance info, emergency room documents, and whatnot are added. The charts are so heavy that you can use them for weight training, and if you are not careful, you can throw a joint out!
The hospital is planning on switching to electronic medical records but I haven’t heard of a target date on when that’s going to start. I hope it eliminates most of the 53 forms that we use now. So much for weight training. I might have to lift the computer monitor instead.
A brief anecdote about what happened last Tuesday morning in the frontlines. The phlebotomist came to draw blood from some of our patients. I asked one very anxious and agitated female who was admitted the previous day, if we can draw her blood. This was her response – “You’re not going to draw s… from my a..! That was so unexpected that staff and other patients in the immediate area erupted in laughter. Who says you can't find humor during a tense situation?!

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