Our ED wait times wil be longer than usual this weekend (and beyond) so we can attend to the computer.

A hospital system, Pinnacle Health, not all that far from me in the Harrisburg, PA area is rolling out EPIC this weekend.

The following banner is at the top of their homepage at http://www.pinnaclehealth.org/locations-and-providers/:


ALERT: Due to our transitioning of a new computer system this weekend, ER wait times may be longer than normal.  Click to enlarge.

! ALERT: Due to our transitioning of a new computer system this weekend, ER wait times may be longer than normal. If you have a minor illness that doesn’t require a trip to the ER, you can visit one of our Express or FastCare clinics or if unsure where to go, contact our free 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at (717) 988-0074


So, besides delaying affairs in a critical care environment, in order to take care of the computer's needs, they're asking patients to decide if they have "a minor illness that doesn't require a trip to the ER" and, in so doing, redirecting patients with possibly serious problems to a doc-in-the-box urgicare center.

These two matters raise risk on its face.  If patients are harmed or die, then, are their injuries or death considered a worthy sacrifice in the name of achieving cybernetic utopia?

It would seem far more logical - and safe - to roll out a "new computer system" gradually, in a manner that does not require crazy workarounds (e.g., asking patients to decide if they need the ER or not) and causing delays and confusion that, in an ED environment, can and do lead to missed findings, lost information, harm, and death.

This mayhem will go on for far longer than a weekend.

It's stunning how the naive public has been sold the myth/fantasy that computers are a really great thing in medicine, and worth the risks of a massive rollout and the disruptions that causes, when increasingly - as posted in numerous essays on this website and others - the data does not support such declarations, and computers serve as more of a distraction than a boon to busy clinicians.

-- SS