As of the year 2014, 83 percent of physicians were utilizing EHRs, and reaping the benefits of their reduced long-range costs, more effective storage, better informational accessibility, improved security and loss prevention, and enhanced accuracy and readability.
In spite of all the positives, however, EHR still can get in the way of patient satisfaction. As a matter of fact, the main physician complaint concerning EHRs is that they’ll worsen patient service by reducing face-time with patients, as well as interfering with doctors’ capability of seeing more patients. Plus, of the admittedly smaller proportion of doctors who are not using EHR, 40 percent state that it is because they interfere with doctor/patient relationships.
Nowadays, you cannot afford sub-par patient satisfaction ratings; therefore, below are four methods of keeping EHR from dragging down a patients’ happiness with care.
Concentrate on training
It is never too late to spend the time training doctors on EHR. Lean on a vendor — allow them to come in and display tips and hints for more effective use, and request that they assist you in connecting with other doctors who use the same version of EHR. Observe these other doctors in practice, talk about daily solutions, and bring this knowledge back to your practice. Keep in mind: Training does not end just because a software was installed.
Implement human solutions
Health IT isn’t the be-all, end-all. A human touch never can be completely replaced by technological options. ‘One of patients’ largest let-downs would be as their physicians keep glancing between their screens and them,’ wrote one physician. ‘Therefore, if we’re actually serious about bettering patient satisfaction and health care experience, how can we allow this situation to go on?’ Utilizing scribes to record every patient encounter, recording all details in real time, will restore the connection between patient and doctor. Rather than looking distracted or staring at a screen, scribes are able to do all of the administrative work, allowing doctors to get the most details out of all encounters and boost patient satisfaction all at the same time.
Be certain the EHR software will interact with additional EHRs within your community in order for data-sharing to be seamless; this will have two important effects. Firstly, interoperability leads to transparency in clinical data, provider performance and prices, all of which are assisting in driving the Department of Health & Human Services’ movement towards reimbursement for effectiveness and quality of care. Secondly, it’ll mean that patient records are easily added to and transferred between additional providers.
Alleviate the administrative burden
One recent study showed that interns ‘currently spend only about 10% of the day being involved in direct patient care in the hospital and nearly 50 percent of the time on computers.’ Scribes may input commonly utilized codes, and produce the encounter/operative note, removing a ton of work on the back end. Doctors ought to be spending time seeing their patients — which will increase access to care (therefore boosting patient satisfaction) and possible revenue — and then signing off papers they know are correct and complete. There isn’t any sense in applying all of that time in medical training to administrative activities over patient care.
About the Author:
Kristen Brady is the founder and owner of Kaboom Social Media, your social media marketing and content specialists! Follow her on Twitter: @kb54927