I recently had two particular paperless lab experiences in the healthcare sector that I thought could give us a different perspective on the paperless lab and how people use it.
About a month ago, I was watching a doctor using his healthcare portal. He had to spend a lot of time going back-and-forth between the patient and his screen. At one point, he said that he felt the computers got in the way of him having face-to-face time with his patients. The way he had to swivel back-and-forth to look the patient in the eye and to then type in the computer did seem awkward and I wondered if it was off-putting to the patient.
A few weeks later, in a similar situation, a different doctor entered an examining room with another person in-tow. The doctor introduced himself and his “scribe.” He explained that the scribe was there to take all his notes on the patient. In this case, the doctor was able to have full eye contact with the patient. He occasionally looked at the scribe but was mainly able to give the patient his full and undivided attention as the scribe pounded away on the keyboard with all the notes that needed to be taken.
How it Applies to Our Industry
Most companies can’t afford to hire scribes for their people. However, if there are people in the organization that need to use your paperless lab but who can’t or won’t learn it, there might be times when hiring a scribe is the best recourse. Where you have workers who have become both important to your operations but also out-of-date in their computer skills this could be an option.
Normally, I’m under the impression that some of the C-level people have administrative assistants and others who enter data and run reports for them, although this is not true at many companies. But there might be other areas where a person’s input is so very important but they are entirely unwilling or unable to learn how to do it that this might be an alternative.
The Worst Case
I’ve worked in situations where the company has specific people who refuse to enter their data in the system and that data just goes unentered. In most companies, that’s the worst thing that can happen – it’s terrible when data goes unentered and eventually becomes lost, because most people would no longer think to look for a paper copy – if they don’t find it on-line, they think it doesn’t exist.
Instead of letting that happen, and if you’re really going to keep that person and in a position where their input is needed, this is one possibility to consider.