In “Doctor-Patient Communication: A Review,” authors Jennifer Fong Ha, MBBS, and Nancy Longnecker, PhD, indicate that “Patients reporting good communication with their doctor are more likely to be satisfied with their care, and especially to share pertinent information for accurate diagnosis of their problems, follow advice, and adhere to the prescribed treatment.”
Thus, establishing and keeping those communication lines open is not only a great way to improve your patient satisfaction level but also help them achieve higher levels of health. One way to achieve that goal is by using a certified electronic health record (EHR) system. This helps four different ways.
1. Improved Patient Education
How many times have you described to a patient their health condition only to be met with that dear in the headlights look? Not only is this frustrating to you, but it’s frustrating to the patient as well. What’s worse is the risk of them giving up on your care simply because they don’t understand their problem.
Such consequences of poor patient communication are minimized through the use of certified EHR’s. They can provide education-based visual aids to help you deliver your message more clearly. Additionally, this helps them rationalize the benefits of paying and following through with your care now instead of putting off care, potentially making their problem worse.
Here are some examples of educational tools used in EHR’s:
- Prescribed Home Care Instructions
- Wellness and lifestyle changes
- Diagnosis information
- Cost/Benefits of treatment options
2. Automated Patient Reminders
In November of 2014, The New York Times ran a piece titled “When Patients Don’t Follow Up.” In this article, Dr. Barron H. Lerner shared that “No-show rates range from 5 to 55 percent.” It doesn’t matter whether you fall at the low or high end of this range. When a patient fails to show up for their appointment, it costs you time spent either seeing someone else or engaged in some other action that could help you grow your practice. Again, this is where EHR’s come in.
Using a certified EHR enables you to remind patients of their upcoming appointments. They can also alert staff to schedule follow-ups before patient checks out. And they can notify patients of their regular checkups or when tests are due.
Keeping in touch with your patients between appointments shows that you are invested in their care and keeps you at the forefront of their mind—two factors that will keep them coming back through your door and following through with treatment.
3. Enhanced Chiropractor-Patient Interaction
Let’s face it, you don’t have unlimited amounts of time to spend with all your patients, so getting their updated information in a way that doesn’t involve long appointment sessions is critical to surviving in business. EHR’s assist with this by providing kiosks where patients can input their current health and any complaints before even being called into the room.
Even if you choose not to use a kiosk, at a minimum, you’ll have access to intake forms before seeing the patient. This benefit enables you to go over the information with him or her, ensuring that you’ll have everything you need, without having to write it all down yourself.
Finally, EHR’s improve communication with patients because of the number of ways you can stay in touch regarding their health situation and needs. Text messaging is one such option, and it’s pretty powerful too as Mosio reports that keeping in contact with your patients using this method helps your patients create healthier habits by reminding them to take positive actions. Another way text messages are advantageous is the fact that they are immediate, allowing you to correspond with your patients in real-time.
Another way to share your records with patients through EHR’s is by having a secure and confidential patient portal. This option enables your patients to sign into an online account to access their health records anytime. It also makes it easier for them to send their documents to any other provider securely quickly.
Using a certified EHR can enhance your patient communication in many ways, making them feel happier with you and also increasing the odds that they’ll adhere to a treatment plan.