A primary care doctor spends his or her day collecting and organizing data.
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Before writing and using my own software, I would find myself looking up the same medical information in reference books over and over again. It turns out that much of the information we look up is information that we use regularly, yet infrequently.
When learning to write programs, I began to see my work as a physician in terms of code and problem solving. I began to live by something known in the programming world as the DRY principle. It stands for "do not repeat yourself".
Taming the long tail
The problem is what they call the "long tail" in the world of search engines. The majority of things we look up are things which we rarely look up. For example, the searches we do for prescribing information on drugs we only prescribe a few times per month or year make up the bulk of our searches.
Where software excels over pen and paper
The long tail of infrequently looked up information is easily stored and recalled. My goal was to write programs that helped me to avoid performing repetitive activities throughout my day.
I have optimized my particular software system to allow me to work more efficiently. My goal is always to minimize repetitive tasks and simplify tasks wherever possible. Clearly these optimizations lead to time savings.
Saving time and effort to prevent burnout
Saving time is important when it comes to documentation. Writing notes about our patient encounters takes time away from the patient. Charting becomes an evening event that takes away from family time.