The EHR Thank You Crisis
The perfunctory thank you is Exhibit A in a crisis of creeping institutional noise
This is awkward, but I think we need to stop saying thank you. At least in the electronic health record.
Here’s why: Take the health professional who responds to 25 staff messages in a day. With all messages addressed by early afternoon, by the end of the day they’ll often find their inbox full once again. And each one with nothing more than a thank you. A kind of warm and fuzzy last word in an exchange.
We’re facing an EHR thank you crisis.
While it seems trivial, this vacuous pleasantry scales over different tools and platforms. And with the ease of one-button electronic exchange, few of us consider the impact of their messages on a recipient. It’s like the trick of copying everyone on an email; Easy for the sender, not so much for the long list of recipients wondering why they were copied.
The EHR thank you is Exhibit A in a crisis of creeping institutional noise.
I suggest we put an end to the EHR thank you. Or thank you on any sort of asynchronous communication tool, even email. But I’ve had push back with happy nonsense like, ‘But what about civility?’ Then there’s the argument that the return thank you confirms that the initial message was received. But are we really waiting for the ‘thank you’ to insure that the message landed? And my favorite response delivered with an air of indignation, ‘I’m from the South, and that’s just what we do.’
Let’s just all agree that we’re grateful for each other’s messages and drop the thank you. It’s good communication hygiene.
It’s an information transaction, not a cocktail party hosted in Savannah.
Image generated by Dall-E2 from Open.AI