In praise of paper records

joanneJust for fun, Uncategorized, Veterinary profession

I’ll fully admit I am a dinosaur when it comes to my medical records. Computerized and digital everything is the trend, but I just can’t take the plunge with going paperless. I am cognizant about the ecological impact of using paper, but the benefits to my psyche have to take precedence.

I have always been artistically inclined. I took painting and drawing classes in CEGEP, along with my core science studies. I had the most detailed anatomical drawings and diagrams in my university notes. There is just something about a pristine, white background waiting for the ‘scritch’ of a black pen, or the slash of a red pencil. I was lucky enough to inherit excellent medical notes when I bought the practice. They were organized and concise, and a great jumping off point for my writing style.

Medical record

Our paper files contain all your pet’s medical records, in great detail. We use color coded sheets that highlight procedures such as anesthetics and lab results. Pictures of your pet taken on their first visit line the folder, and other important photos peak out between the sheets of paper where they have been stapled in context to the entry. I’m fond of drawings and not shy to use multiple colors to detail a particular surgery. The folder contents include notes and cards brought in from owners, as well as my own additions of research resources needed for a particular problem. I’ve even taped in small objects like a needle removed from the intestine, or the deciduous tooth that fell out at the exam. In reality, your medical folder is more a scrapbook of images, writing and events from your pet’s visits.

I suppose that one day when fax machines are obsolete, I will need to revisit switching to digital records. For now, I’ll hold out as long as I can to satisfy my need to document information in such a way that flows from my thoughts directly to the paper in stark black script. Besides, writing with pen and paper has other benefits, as seen in the video below.