EMR Physician Builder course day 0 - it starts with a journey

 Cheese head (photo: ©Rob Schertzer 2015)

Cheese head (photo: ©Rob Schertzer 2015)

It starts with a journey or it's all part of a never ending journey? I am heading to Wisconsin, a trip that will take twelve hours to complete, to begin a three day EMR Physician Builder course. I don't know exactly what's in store but I do know that I've wanted to do this course for more than a year and am honoured that Dartmouth-Hitchcock is giving me this opportunity. It's a journey that I would like to share with others so I will be blogging about the process, not the course content. It should be a great reflective exercise to synthesize what I'm learning and it may help others to see why it helps to have physicians directly involved in electronic medical record programming.

I'll be holed up on my own all week and the tools of my trade pose as a first obstacle. Thinking ahead to have all my devices at my fingertips on the flight, I'm wearing my ScotteVest TWiT fleece jacket. Now a bit out of date since my phone (Nexus 6P), um, and my other phone (iPhone 6 Plus) are both too big to fit in the phone/iPod pockets. I'm still able to get both in other pockets along with ear buds with their wires tunneled thru the jacket, two spare pairs of buds, Kindle Fire HD 8, Kindle Paperwhite, 1 litre water bottle, and travel documents. This works out great for airport security because this, with my keys, wallet and watch thrown into another pocket all sail thru security. My carry on roller bag doesn't fair as well.

The x-ray reading TSA agent flagged the entire bag for inspection having let the laptop backpack get thru only circling the bluetooth headset as suspicious. The roller bag however got a thorough inspection of all cavities. This can't be the first time they were faced with a power strip, desktop microphone, ethernet cable, every Apple related dongle, external hard drive, external laptop battery and more. Since aside from the 8:30-5:30 course time for the next 3 days, I really have the best of intentions of completing more Talking About Glaucoma podcasts, or Glaucoma blog postings of surgical cases. Eventually re-assembled, I'm all clear at Manchester-Boston Airport ready to head to Madison, WI via Detroit, MI.

Boarding the plane in Detroit a number of hours later, after touring every shop that had any electronics on display at the terminal, I ask the person next to me if they live in Madison? "No, I'm attending a course at Epic," she replied, and one by one all those around me said "me too." It's a big thing. None of the others are Physicians but they are all involved in other hospitals in building their Epic implementations.

This begs an answer to the question I posed to an Epic programmer at the first ever Ophthalmology Epic Users Group meeting in October 2014 at the American Academy of Ophthalmology: is Epic supposed to be an off the shelf EMR solution or is it a development platform? 

Upon arrival at the Super 8 hotel, there's still work to be done tonight. I connect to a conference call for the Canadian Ophthalmological Society Maintenance of Certification committee. We are working on a figuring out the best way to make sure our members are continuing to improve along the seven core competencies beyond just Medical Experts. This is worthy of a future blog posting. This was followed by a pre-requisite learning module for the Physician Builder course that I completed on-line on how to construct basic rules. The good news...it was very well done, combining video and interactivity. This all bodes well for the next few days. Follow along with me over the next few days.