Electronic Health Records

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Improving patient experience, education through EHRs

By [email protected]

What would it take to improve the patient experience?  Whether it’s compliance with a treatment plan or participating in clinical trials, the EHR conversation is filled with opportunities for social interaction between patients and physicians.  Personal Health Information (PHI) is a treasure trove of information if only someone had the time to pour over the data to understand the people represented by that data.  If we consider three factors in health informatics: clinical content, information technology and social behavior, there is a lot more than meaningful use criteria to define the patient experience in new ways.

A recent national poll on clinical research from Research!America revealed some interesting opportunities to explore the convergence of those three factors in health informatics.  Some highlights from the study:

• 46% of respondents indicated they are “somewhat likely” to participate in a clinical trial if their doctor found one and recommended their participation.

• 70% of respondents indicated that neither their doctor nor any other health care professional has ever talked about medical research.

• While 80% of respondents have heard of clinical trials, only 24% indicated their doctor/health care provider as the source of this insight.

• 77% of the respondents indicated that they or anyone in their family have not participated in clinical trials.

• Among the most important reasons given for this lack of participation were: lack of information/awareness, lack of trust, too risky and adverse health outcomes.

While this insight may not make the patient experience any less complex in reality, it does speak to the opportunities to use the EHR data in new ways to educate patients and measure outcomes.  It’s easy to be awestruck by terms like “big data” in healthcare.  But with all of this digital information being created everyday within the EHR and the clinic, it’s important not to leave it to the internet for patients to figure out the rest of their patient experience.

The trust between patient and physician still holds plenty of clout even with the mass generation of health data in the clinic every day.  A new dialogue is already underway in the patient experience as EHR meaningful use encourages access and actions with this health data.  Whether it’s a conversation about a clinical trial or not, the value of the physician should not be understated in this patient experience that has expanded well beyond the hours of clinic operation into the internet.  EHR meaningful use for patients is more than just granting access to ePHI, but engaging in a new conversation about what this information means and what additional resources might be available (such as clinical trials) is still within the hands of the caring and capable physician.

Robert Green is the author of Community Healthcare: Finding a Common Ground with New Expectations in Healthcare. Through his physician client relationships, Bob has gained substantial insight regarding the daily challenges that medical professionals and their staffs face, such as regulatory issues, financial management, and clinical collaboration through the use of health IT. His process of making both interpersonal and purposeful connections within the organization results in improved employee performance and confidence and enhanced client experience.

 

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