My Analog Life

A physician recalls life before electronic medical records

Maria Hollenhorst Jul 10, 2024
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Before the widespread adoption of electronic medical records, doctors filled out a lot of paperwork in triplicate. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
My Analog Life

A physician recalls life before electronic medical records

Maria Hollenhorst Jul 10, 2024
Heard on:
Before the widespread adoption of electronic medical records, doctors filled out a lot of paperwork in triplicate. Peter Dazeley/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

When Dr. Winnie Lau was a medical resident in the 1990s, she made patient rounds with a carousel of charts in binders and hustled down to the radiology department to view X-rays and CT scans. 

“We would have to go down and fetch the actual physical file for the patients that had all of their images,” said Lau, who specializes in kidney disease at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. “And this was quite a feat, because each one would be quite heavy.”

In the age before electronic medical records, Lau said her job was much more physical. 

She said digitization has made her life easier in many respects. The charts she used to have to hunt down, the triplicate paperwork she used to fill out to prescribe medication, and the heavy image files she could only view in the radiology department are now all accessible at the push of a button. 

“All of this revolutionary change has allowed me to see more patients,” Lau said. “But individually, I really don’t feel that I’m giving any better care now in 2024 than I was able to in the 1990s.”

Click the audio player above to hear Lau’s story.

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