Another more insidious consequence of the copy-and-paste function has been the loss of the narrative. Because charts have become capacious warehouses of disorganized, irrelevant, or erroneous data, the story of the patient and the patient's illness is no longer easy to read or likely to be read. In a most compelling and perhaps unintended way, we are witnessing the “death” of the health record narrative, as many of us have known it. Others also speak of the loss of narrative in electronic health records, and with great concern because narratives form the basis of clinical decision making.
Daily documentation of the patient's trajectory, in prose, even when stripped of overt emotional content, is not just educational. It is humanizing.
I have yet to encounter an electronically generated note that effectively tells a patient’s story.