To the Editor:
I have an engineering background and usually think that technology is terrific, but as “Rediscovering the Paper Planner” [March 2004, page 100] demonstrates, it has its limitations. I had a personal digital assistant (PDA) for a few years. It was a wonderful gadget – when it was working! I had to send it back for repairs twice and lost considerable data in the process. I have now gone back to a paper planner and am much more efficient. I am able to get to information much faster and enter it more quickly with the paper planner than with the PDA.
I believe that the same thing will occur with electronic medical records (EMRs). EMRs seem like the answer to everything, but we will all find out that they are actually costly and inefficient. As a solo physician in a rural area, I cannot afford to purchase and maintain an EMR system, and I cannot afford the extra time spent on record keeping. I would rather be caring for my patients. I believe that EMRs should not be mandated for everyone, but they should be a choice for those who have extra money and time. Technology is not always the best option for everyone.