During the recent HIMSS conference, Travis Boone,  a CMS special assistant, articulated something that has crossed my mind many times. He said: “Meaningful use is the reason we’re interested in EHRs. We’re not in this to save trees.” Actually, the term “paperless” is troubling as it has taken on exaggerated “Holy Grail” importance when, in reality, the end- goal should be creating a digital care environment that truly improves clinical processes and care delivery.  

While I’m as environmentally conscious and practical as the next person, I strongly agree and believe that clinical decision-making, patient safety and the operational benefits associated with EHRs should be what motivates providers to move away from a paper environment, not the mistaken notion that real success is measured by the absence of every last shred of paper.

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