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A Piece of My Mind
April 25, 2007

At a Loss for Words

Author Affiliations
 

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2007;297(16):1751-1752. doi:10.1001/jama.297.16.1751

“The rollout of the EHR,” the technical guy said, “will require that we use templates as much as possible.” Heads nodded all around the table, except for mine. I know the templates are coming and understand the reasons. They will increase consistency of record keeping, help auditing and coding, and decrease the cost of transcription. But after almost 40 years of scribbling, drawing anatomical sketches and arrows, and writing things that will never appear on templates, I feel that I deserve to end my clinical career with the comfort of my own words and markings filling my patients' charts. The memories have always been tied to the words. I suppose that my concern about electronic health records and their templates is about losing the words that have connected me with generations of patients.

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