If the nine million weekly viewers of ABC's hit doctor show "Grey's Anatomy" believe that interns and residents have frequent, hot sex in the supply closets of their fictional Seattle Grace-Mercy West hospital, they’ll believe anything. Which is why I was dismayed to see the negative portrayal of electronic health technology in recent episodes. The program arguably has a significant impact on how its viewers understand the life of a surgeon and what part technology can play in making our health care system as effective and trusted as it should be.
In the past two episodes, we see Seattle Grace-Mercy West in the throes of being sold to the brutally efficient-minded company, Pegasus Horizons. A prominent plot line woven into the palpable angst of the cast over the impending sale is the myriad ways in which The Man is going to ruin our heroes’ and heroines’ place of work (and play): omnipresent cameras monitoring goings-on, “brand ambassadors,” a maximum of 15 minutes per patient encounter, and – worst of all, viewers are led to believe – an emphasis on “efficiency” that includes use of hand-held tablets in exam rooms and a “centralized electronic health record system." The horror!