Well: In Age of Digital Records, Paper Still Carries Weight

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The New York Times.

Photo Credit Jon Krause

As the ancient Britons celebrated the alignment of stone and shadow at Stonehenge, as modern astronomers delight in a solar eclipse, so joy fills my personal universe during the brief intervals when my three major professional passwords converge.

I use each one dozens of times a day to access the hospital systems necessary to write notes and prescriptions and check labs and email. The passwords must be changed every three, four and six months, and I have a strategy for updating each one. But their different rotation rates mean that one or another always needs attention, sapping my concentration and occasionally precipitating disaster. (“Too many unsuccessful attempts! Contact administrator!”)

And then along come the halcyon weeks when they are all exactly the same, a time when mind and fingers fly and I get to think about other things, like the patients in front of me.

In addition to those three passwords, I have quite a few others: one for our old collection of electronic records (whose information cannot be transferred to our present database), two for separate lab computers not connected to the main computer, one for the billing system, one…

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