Health Care Providers Discover Computers Are a Real Pain

by Cathy Miller on December 11, 2012

in Health and Wellness

Talk about a Catch-22.

The U.S. government began pouring billions in incentives to entice hospitals and physicians to go digital.

The hope was the move would generate cost-savings and improve accuracy and efficiency in medical records.

Instead, the practice could be generating more medical claims.

A Cornell University press release reports repetitive motion injuries are on the rise for doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

Studies attribute the injuries to poor office layouts and improper use of computer devices. It appears medical facilities did not consider ergonomics when going high-tech.

Is this an example of practice what you preach?

We Work Ergo We Hurt

I had the good fortune in my corporate career to work for a brokerage firm with an in-house ergonomic specialist.

In case you have not felt (and I do mean felt) the pain of a non-ergonomic setting, count your blessings.

Simply put, ergonomics is the science of work, but used in this context, it’s the processes and steps taken to make a workplace comfortable.

When I developed wrist pain and eyestrain due to my working conditions, the ergonomic specialist made simple adjustments to my office – and me. Well, as much as he could control my crazy working habits.

I wrote about those ergonomic adjustments for writer friend, Danielle McGaw.

Physician Heal Thyself

After reading the press release, I thought back to my annual check-up with my own physician.

I appreciated the time he spent on the visit. But, thinking back, my doctor spent a good part of the time sitting on a round stool with no support, hunched over a laptop while typing my responses to medical history questions.

It made my surgically-repaired back ache in sympathy.

Researchers presented findings from the Cornell study of 179 physicians.

  • The most commonly reported repetitive strain injuries were neck, shoulder and upper and lower back pain
  • The majority of female (and 40% of male) physicians experienced pain weekly
  • Wrist injuries were also a weekly pain for 40% of female physicians and 30% of male physicians

I get this mental image similar to US Magazine’s Stars Are Just Like Us. 

Of course, I read material that is more educational. I must have picked up the US Magazine at my physician’s office, while sitting in an upright, ergonomic position.

Practice what you preach.

Is your office ergonomically-friendly?

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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not a health care provider and cannot provide health care advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute health care advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you visit your physician for health care issues.

 

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