It’s no secret that the world of healthcare IT is laden and littered with a veritable plethora of acronyms: EHR, MU, HIE, RAC, RCM … ad nauseum. If we can attach an acronym to a term, we will! But one of my all-time favorites isn’t specific to our industry at all. Universal, almost always applicable and usually good advice, it’s something I often remind myself. It’s “KISS,” or “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”
Recently, I ran across something that illustrated perfectly the importance of keeping it simple.
Back in November, I wrote a blog to let our audience know about a Software Advice survey, which asked doctors how EHRs had reduced their face time with patients and how to best deal with that problem. Software Advice has just posted the survey results online in an article titled, “7 Ways to Maintain Patient Interaction in the Age of the EHR.”
The first item on the list is also the simplest and – arguably – the most effective: “Position your computer between you and your patient.” What they are actually referring to is the placement of the monitor, suggesting positioning it in such a way so the doctor can look up from the screen directly at the patient, instead of facing a wall.
The article also suggests that doctors: invest in mobility, delegate and dictate as much as possible, ignore the computer upon first entering the room, ask the patient about previous complaints and, last but not least, finish the patient’s chart in the room.
Software Advice specializes in researching and reviewing software titles and matching clients with best solutions. The company, which was founded in Texas in 2005, has helped 94,010 software buyers since it began operations and currently works with 678 software vendors. Software Advice conducted the survey to determine the impact of electronic medical record/electronic health record (EMR/EHR) software on doctor/patient interaction.
Below is an article summary. To read the full article, click here: “7 Ways to Maintain Patient Interaction in the Age of the EHR.”
7 Ways to Maintain Patient Interaction in the Age of the EHR
A common criticism of EHR (electronic health record) use in medical practices is that it causes doctors to become less engaged and impersonal. This causes frustration for all parties, because doctors didn’t sign up for computer duty, and patients expect a doctor’s full attention during visits.
Software Advice, an online consultancy for medical software, recently did a survey on how to improve doctor-patient interactions in the EHR era. They listed the top seven tips received on maintaining quality relationships:
1. Position your computer between you and the patient: No brainer here. Face the patient during interactions. Take the time to plan where your equipment will go so that this is possible.
2. Invest in mobility: Whether it’s a small rolling desk, small tablets or other lightweight tools, choose equipment that helps you move around. A laptop may cost an extra buck but can be worth the investment.
3. Delegate as much as possible: The objective is to interact with the patient as much as possible. Have staff members enter the medical history, medications, prior procedures, etc., prior to the patient’s visit so you don’t have to do it during the appointment.
4. Dictate as much as possible: Talk with the patient while scribes enter the information or use dictation software. This allows you to focus more on the patient.
5. Ignore the computer when you first enter the room: Chat with your patient for a few minutes before you start recording information in the digital record.
6. Ask about previous complaints: If the patient information is pre-loaded, look it over before entering the room. If they have open complaints, ask them about the issues in order to close them out in the EHR. This reaffirms to the patient that you care.
7. Finish the chart in the room: This can help to answer any other questions that might come up so patients feel like they have been listened to.
EHRs take some getting used to. Once a physician develops a rhythm with the software, every patient interaction becomes easier. Practice makes perfect.