Other Lies

You have probably heard physician complaints about the time absorbed by electronic medical records (EMR) and patient complaints about physicians who seem more interested in the computer screen than the patient, but more serious flaws will likely surface in the courtroom.

I believe omission of “other” from a menu of choices will force physicians to lie in the medical record, resulting in lost credibility in court.

For example, this morning I wanted to paste a text conversation into a patient record. I had previously created “Text” as I selection for the “New Encounter (SOAP)” dropdown menu. My choice actually ends up as “Note Type,” and, of course, “SOAP” format does not apply to a text message. Now I must choose “Encounter Type” from “Office Visit, Nurse Visit, Telephone Encounter, Telemedicine Visit, Home Visit, Orders Only, Nursing Home Visit, Email Encounter, and Letter.”


Office, Home and Nursing Home are locations. A nurse is a type of provider. Telephone, Telemedicine, Email, and Letter are media of communication. Orders Only? Talk about mixing apples and oranges. I give up. The closest I can come to Text is Email, so that is what I selected. I had to lie since I could not choose “Other.”

A clever plaintiff’s attorney could use this in court to undermine the credibility of the physician with a gullible jury/judge.

What makes EMR creators so confidant that they have covered all possible choices that they can omit “other?”

Stay tuned for other examples of how EMR will play havoc with medical malpractice litigation.

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