75-year-old physician, Chicagoland hospital part ways over new EMR

A 75-year-old obstetrician at Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based St. Alexius Medical Center who has delivered tens of thousands of babies is hanging up his hospital coat after refusing to take classes and learn the hospital's new computer system, Daily Herald reports.

Jeffrey Johnson, MD, delivered his first baby at St. Alexius in 1965 and his last baby at the same hospital last month. "I've delivered more babies than any other obstetrician in the Northwest suburbs. I'm good," Dr. Johnson told Daily Herald. He estimates he's delivered between 14,000 and 15,000 babies in his 50-year career.

However, St. Alexius — which is part of the Amita Health system — recently switched over to an EMR so patient records across the system could be readily available. Dr. Johnson didn't agree with the change.

"Our hospital recently implemented a new electronic-medical-record (EMR) platform as part of a systemwide initiative to ensure that patient records are readily accessible and shared on a common platform across all our facilities," Len Wilk, president and CEO of Amita Health St. Alexius Medical Center, said. "EMR technology has been shown to reduce medical errors and increase quality and safety. Because Amita Health is committed to delivering the highest-quality care and ensuring patient safety, we require all of our practitioners to receive training in the use of our new EMR platform for ordering and documenting clinical care."

Dr. Johnson will still see women at his private practice to confirm their pregnancies and then refer them to either his son, Peter Johnson, MD, or his younger brother, Alan Johnson, MD — both obstetricians. Although he is still skilled in the delivery room, Dr. Johnson knows it's time to call it quits.

"I think it's the most important job in medicine, and I love it," Dr. Johnson told Daily Herald. "I just can't practice anymore at our hospital because I don't know how to use the computer efficiently."

More articles on EHRs:
Top 5 reasons patients decline access to EHRs, according to ONC's study
National Academy of Medicine releases ONC-funded report on improving clinical decision support
Black Book: Duplicate patient records cost hospitals almost $2k per inpatient stay

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