Using Your EHR to Improve the Doctor-Patient Experience

Infographic on ehr and patient communication infographic

The Institute for Healthcare Communication (IHC) states that studies conducted over the last 30 years have found “that the clinician’s ability to explain, listen and empathize can have a profound effect on biological and functional health outcomes as well as patient satisfaction and experience of care.” Additionally, after reviewing results from 29 different survey-related studies, researchers Rashid Al-Abri and Amina Al-Balushi concluded that patient satisfaction is “an important quality outcome indicator to measure success of the services delivery system.”
What does this mean in real-life terms? Simply put, your ability to communicate effectively can significantly affect patient happiness and patient happiness is directly related to your healthcare business success. So, the question is: how do you create a more positive patient experience via better communication, thereby improving your chiropractic practice as a result? Fortunately, using an electronic health record (EHR) system can help.

EHRs and Improved Patient Communication

By using an EHR, you’re able to spend more face-to-face time with your patients. This personal connection means stronger, more powerful communication, resulting in higher levels of doctor-patient trust, increased confidence in your abilities, and ultimately improved care—all of which are factors that enhance patient satisfaction.
And when your patients’ experience is pleasurable, you’re able to provide a higher quality of service says the IHC. They’re more inclined to listen to your advice, actions which are evidenced by a greater willingness “to follow through with medical recommendations, self-manage a chronic medical condition, and adopt preventive health behaviors.”
Use the LEVEL System
To improve patient satisfaction, use what is called the LEVEL System. LEVEL stands for:

L – Let your patient visually see the EHR as you input their information. Ideally, you want to set the EHR in a place where both you and your patient can see the screen (think of a triangle-type of setup between your eyes, their eyes, and the screen). This position gives them the opportunity to see what type of information you deem important enough to enter, as well as giving them the chance to correct anything that you may have misunderstood. It also actively engages them in their healthcare process.

E – Eye contact with the patient. While it’s important to make sure the patient’s record is up-to-date, it’s even more crucial that he or she feels like they’ve received as much undivided attention during their treatment session as possible. This one-on-one focus helps increase patient satisfaction levels, thus boosting your practice as a result. An example would be greeting your patient before even looking at your EHR. Also, listen to them completely before documenting what they’ve told you. Let them know that you care, and that understand, and they’ll be more likely to come back through your door.

V – Value the EHR. Because some of their appointment time must be spent updating their health records, it helps to explain how this type of system benefits them via better record-keeping and enhanced patient service helps by increasing their understanding of why you must note your findings while they are in your office. When they see it as a valuable tool that it is, the EHR becomes a welcome part of the treatment process.

E – Explain how the EHR works. Sometimes dissatisfaction presents itself when the patient doesn’t understand the process. This makes explaining how the EHR works as important as sharing how a particular treatment method can enhance health. The more informed and educated your patient is, the more likely it is he or she will follow your proposed treatment plan because they’ll understand how important each step of the process truly is.

L – Log off the EHR. University of Washington’s School of Medicine stresses that “confidentiality is one of the core duties of medical practice,” particularly if you want patients to share their most private information about their health. That’s why it’s critical to log off your EHR when you’re not using it. This shows patients that you take their privacy seriously, increasing their level of trust as well as their willingness to be completely honest about how they feel.

Additional EHR Tips to Promote Patient Satisfaction

There are a couple of other things you can do when using your EHR system that will help promote patient satisfaction, thus boosting your business. For instance, you want to choose an EHR that provides an optimal user experience. The easier and more intuitive your EHR, the more you’ll enjoy using it, a factor your patients will see firsthand, making it easier for them to appreciate it too.

Another tip is to use an actual workstation for your EHR as opposed to using a tablet. This will make it easier for your patients to see the screen without you having to awkwardly hold it while entering their medical diagnosis and treatment-related information.
EHRs offer many benefits and increased customer satisfaction is just one more. But it’s also one that can push your business to higher levels, which makes it one that is worth considering.

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