What If Cell Phones Were Like EMRs?

In a response to a blog post on KevinMD by a doctor who loves her EMR, Thomas D Guastavino paints an interesting and amusing analogy between EMRs and cell phones:

“The year is 1990. The federal government has made the decision that everyone needs to switch to cell phones. The government claims that landlines are to inefficient and prone to error which may or may not be true. The only thing everyone can agree upon is that it is much easier for the government to monitor cell phones [than] landlines.

In order to coerce people to switch to cell phones the government first provides bribes, but eventually will fine people for not making the switch. However, in order to get then bribe the users have to follow and document certain guidelines and have to do so within a fixed time frame.

Cell phone carriers rush in provide the phones. With the rush to make the switch, fundamental errors are made such as different carriers working on different frequencies so some phones won’t communicate with each other, if you can get a signal at all. Worse still, the market is dictated not by what the users may want or need, but how best to meet the criteria to get the bribe. Phones are made with a 25 digit keyboard so required codes can be entered. Before each call can be made a pop-up question screen appears so that the user can meet the requirements the government has decided are necessary to make the call.

24 years later some users have gone through multiple phones, cursing the day they ever switched from landlines.”

Thomas D Guastavino

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