The Night Nothing Happened

Tonight, in my ED, nothing happened.

Oh, there were plenty of patients, and there was plenty of work to do, but it was one of those nights when circumstances conspired to insure nothing got done, at least not like it should have.

The biggest culprit was the shut-down of the ‘computers’, a misnomer as all our computers continued to work but the network went down. This means that all the orders have to be done with paper requests, then later have to get entered into the network (when it’s a network again), thereby more than doubling the work needed to get every single test done, and adding to the delay(s) every single time. Oh, and the results don’t come in the normal way, either.

My biggest irritant was the xray system, converted to digital radiography for the convenience of the radiology department about 2 years ago. When the network collapses, they keep shooting xrays, but we cannot get to them normally, the backup procedures we have been assured would be there aren’t, so we have to stop the rad techs and have them find and pull up the films we need to see (all of them). For some reason, network problems don’t happen when the People In Ties, who are all smiles and assurances about ‘we’ve got it covered’ aren’t there when the backup scheme needs to work, and doesn’t.

And, since this has devolved into a generally unfocued rant, this is my biggest concern about an Electronic Medical Record (EMR), which is one of those things that will absolutely stop us dead when the system goes down. It’s bad enough when the orders don’t happen quickly and the xrays cannot be viewed; what happens when we can’t even start or finish a chart?

Anyway, a frustrating eve, which should have been over quickly due to the time change, but was made interminable Waiting on Things to Get Done.