Post-its and the Practice of Medicine

October 18, 2012
133 Views

Ever since the first Post-its® appeared in the early 80’s I’ve used the little colored sheets to remind myself about all kinds of things–telephone numbers, todo lists, shopping lists, dates to remember, notes for other people-especially my husband. I do not know how my mother, with her organizational genius, managed to survive without them.

Ever since the first Post-its® appeared in the early 80’s I’ve used the little colored sheets to remind myself about all kinds of things–telephone numbers, todo lists, shopping lists, dates to remember, notes for other people-especially my husband. I do not know how my mother, with her organizational genius, managed to survive without them.

When I began using a superb productivity program called Omnifocus, I thought my Sticky Note® penchant would be reduced. However, with the advent of EHR, I find it has done anything but. They clutter my desktop (my REAL desktop, not the one on my Mac) with quickly scribbled suggestions for changes requested or features not found on Allscripts (our EHR), thoughts for the blog, thoughts for future Vlogs, need for specific patient information, a book or website suggestion from a patient or my grocery list as I dream up an idea for supper tonight.

Later in the day I will quickly go through the stickies and move them to my calendar, Omnifocus, or if possible I’ll “just do it” (using a time-management technique by GTD® guru David Allen). They are ubiquitous in my exam rooms for writing quick info down with patients–a web site, recommended reading, an address, or medical term most often. Almost as frequently, they remind me to do something for a patient that would take too long to enter into the Electronic Health Record (EHR) or more commonly, it’s unclear where to put it in the EHR–like getting old records out of storage, obtaining recent ER notes, or looking up some particular disease state to research for the patient.

It’s clear that most other forms of paper will be disappearing from my office. Already the huge stacks of charts are disappearing, replaced with tasks or scanned documents in the EHR. Slowly, I’m beginning to appreciate the uncluttered appearance of my desk. However, I’ve found that its glass top, something I never used to see, makes a great surface for sticky note adhesive. 

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