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Our paperless society has more paper then ever before

Updated on October 29, 2013
This is how paper is used now
This is how paper is used now

Electronic Records do not help with less paper

We have all been through it going to your doctor or hospital or even filling out a job application. You fill out a ton of papers to be scanned into an electronic medical record or an online job application that makes you fill out a ton of paper work if you are hired such as your W-4, insurance choice and many other things that were on the same application that you filled out.

How many times have you listed your medications on your doctors computer system for him or her to come in the room and ask you what medications you are taking or the medical assistant asks you what you are there for and puts it in the computer and then the doctors ask you the same thing.

Is our world of computers really doing it's job when in all reality you still need paper before the computer. Working in healthcare I can attest that patients have a electronic medical record and a paper chart. When the patient is discharged their discharge instructions are printed out on paper. If they are being sent to a nursing home then their whole chart has to be copied which could be anywhere from 25 to 100 pages or more depending on their length of stay.

When you purchase a home, you complete the application online but there is still ten thousand papers you have to sign with the same information on them that you put on your application.

Electronic records have not stopped anything to save trees, as was their intention. As a matter of fact paper industries have doubled and tripled since the said electronic records were established.

This concept of a paperless society was originated by Frederick Wilfrid Lancaster in 1978, who thought that going to a paperless society would get rid of the need for libraries and any handling of paper even for postal workers. However he never considered that being totally paperless would leave everyone on one server to be totally engaged in a paperless society.

Over the years many publishers have went to digital books, but people still want to buy regular books. Even with the ability to stream books from kindle or nooks for a small price, what are we saying to society? Being a writer I have oftened wondered what will happen to children in years to come who will never see or hold a book in their hands.

Having a paperless society is truly a myth when the amount of printing in 2012 was still at 2.98 trillion only down 1.5% since 2010. The US is still in the lead of printing with China and Japan behind them to have the most printed material by 2015.

So why are we not a paperless society? Because it does not work. It works even less then having universal healthcare. Even though some people will read the paper on line or shop on line that does not mean that no paper is involved. If you make a purchase on line does your package not come with a receipt that was printed of what your order contains? Don't you get a printed receipt from the doctors office or the grocery store? Of course you do.

Although the thought was somewhat nice to never have to cut down another tree, it is yet very new how to become a totally paperless society. I have learned the ropes to create my books in digital format but I also create them to be printed also. Every person on the beach has a good old paper back book on their chair. Some do have nooks but the majority still read paper back books.

We can try to be paperless but it just is not going to work.

As places of employment, hospitals, doctors or any other business try to become paperless, the more paper gets used. You have to start it on paper to end it on the computer. Seems a little silly to me that you need to go one way or the other.

Just as we are becoming a recycled society, look how many places still do not recycle anything. Trying to be uniform in different directions just makes us basically look like idiots.

Do you feel we are still using too much paper

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    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Oh, my goodness! How very true! I wrote a hub a couple of years ago about the waste of paper involved in political campaigns. It is shocking.

      And when we bought our house, we had to SIGN AN EXTRA PIECE OF PAPER acknowledging that we'd been informed of the compliance with the 'reduction of paperwork act.' WHAT???? This, when nearly an entire ream of paper was used up for this process!

      Long ago, I came to the conclusion that the end of the human race will occur when we all suffocate in piles of paper! LOVED the video--that was hilarious!

      Voted up, useful and interesting!