The refrain—‘I was such a better doctor when I wrote paper notes’—is, by now, trite and cliché. The current problems with EMRs represent design flaws, both with the technological implementation and physicians’ insistence on maintaining traditional habits and note formats from the paper era . Electronic medical records are part of the future, for many reasons. Instead of composing opinion pieces about the virtues of paper or, even worse, actually re-implementing paper charts, let’s agree to work together on creating next generation EMRs.
We not only need to re-imagine EMR designs and workflows, but also the very notion of notes themselves. Think about the evolution of personal letters from handwritten notes delivered via the US Postal Service to email to text messages. At each step along the way, the typical format and composition changed. Our medical notes need to evolve in a similar fashion and they are, but haphazardly. ↩