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All Things HIT

Apr 17 2012   9:40AM GMT

Health IT, a great combo for patient compliance!

Posted by: AllinHIT
AHRQ, EHR functionality, Patient portals

Within one hour this morning, I read two documents/articles on patient / physician relationship that influenced me to write this blog.  First I dove into the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) report titled Medical practice satisfaction: mean section score for “Moving Through Your Visit”, which is a comprehensive survey on all facets of the patient experience when visiting a physician’s office.  The second piece I focused on was the Healthcare IT News article describing what the author calls five keys to IT and the patient/physician relationship

Both the article and the report got me thinking about the use of technology and how it can improve the patient/physician relationship. Not because of their contents, because, in my opinion, both were lacking a technological perspective. 

The AHRQ report, surveying patients’ office visit experiences, did not distinquish between those physicians with electronic health records(EHRs), and those that were paper charting. I know for a fact that a patient experience can be vastly different in each case. For example, a physician that is utilizing an EHR can monitor how long a patient has been waiting during each phase of the visit (check-in through walking out the door).  Hence, the physician and the staff are more attentive to the process of delivering care in a timely fashion. 

Additionally, once an office is proficient on the EHR, office efficiency increases, again effecting the patient experience more positively. I will suggest to the AHRQ to use this report as a baseline and revisit their efforts as EHR adoption increases.  This would give us some idea on the affect EHR’s have, not only patient care, but patients’ overall experience in obtaining care.

The article that appeared in Healthcare IT News was a good attempt, however, based on the article’s title it just missed the mark.  When I saw the title, I was certain the “keys” would refer to how a physician can use technology to increase patient compliance, provide patients easy access to protected health informationPHI, and possibly the use of technology to increase access to care. Although the author mentioned the use of technology referring to patient portals, and the use of email and texting, it was obvious to me that the author had limited knowledge on EHRs, physician workflows, and the use of technology to really improve the physician/patient relationship within those workflows.  If they had, they would of talked about how the physician can use flowsheets to increase compliance, and real examples on how the patient portal can enhance the physician/patient relationship. 

Although it was a decent article, neither of those are what I would call “keys” to using health IT to enhance the physician/patient relationship.

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