As we prepare to attend the #HiMSS16 Conference in Las Vegas, I am reminded of my great-grandfather's Physician's Daily Memorandum. It's a cherished family heirloom that has always intrigued me. In 1909, this is what medical records looked like. During the early part of the 1900’s, my great-grandfather, Dr. R.P. Beasley, carried this daybook with him on house calls across the rural Tennessee landscape of Dickson, Hickman, and Williamson Counties. He carried it with him to every home and recorded the patient's name, treatment, and cost of each treatment. Fees for service range from 10¢ to $5.00. In the photo below you can see several instances where his young son, my grandfather, doodled on the pages amongst the patient records.
It is hard to believe that my great-grandfather’s medical record book was once the standard method of record keeping for all physicians. As a recruiter for Staffing as a Mission, I focus on staffing large EMR/EHR conversions and implementation projects, which capture similar medical information but on a much larger scale.
Perhaps Dr. Beasley didn’t need a more robust system of capturing records. He knew his patients' names, where they lived, what was growing in their gardens, how clean their water was, their families' medical histories, and the general state of their living environment. Because that level of personal knowledge of medical history doesn’t exist anymore, comprehensive medical records are necessary today.
When I look over this relic of days gone by, I wonder what folks looking back on our era will say about our medical records systems in 100 years. Will our records appear as rudimentary as Dr. Beasley’s Daily Memorandum does to us? Will people look back at our records and marvel at the improvements that have been made? I think they will. Partnering with health systems to implement those improvements excites me. I’m inspired as I reach out to each of our consultants to involve them in an EMR implementation project. I am inspired to learn more about the advanced record keeping systems selected by our clients. And, I am inspired to keep learning as a recruiter so I can provide effective personnel for my clients.
Staffing as a Mission serves clients doing business in a changing market. As a recruiter, I must be adaptable to meet their changing needs. My great-grandfather’s Daily Memorandum book was an improvement on a previous method. I am proud to play a small part in that continuing improvement process.