EHRs Improve Patient Care
Committing to provide nothing but high-quality care shows your patients that you’re a DC with a genuine interest in raising the quality of life for those you treat. It tells them that, as a healthcare provider, you put them first as you’re willing to invest the time and effort necessary to make sure they’re delighted with their chiropractic sessions.
But making your patients happy doesn’t just benefit them as there are distinct advantages for you, the practitioner, as well. In fact, one piece of research found that higher levels of patient care are positively associated with the success of your chiropractic practice and the profits you’re able to generate as a result.
The Link Between Patient Satisfaction and an Improved Bottom Line.
In this research, the U.K.-based research firm Deloitte assessed patient ratings of hospital healthcare services for a period of six years (from 2008 to 2014). What they learned, after reviewing patient experiences is that those healthcare facilities that earned “excellent” ratings had 2.9 percent higher net margins than those with “low” patient satisfaction ratings. And it doesn’t stop there.
This same study also found that healthcare agencies with higher patient satisfaction ratings “earn disproportionately more than they spend compared to those with lower ratings.” So how can this finding be translated to your busy chiropractic office? The happier your patients are with their care, the more you stand to make over the lifetime of your career.
One way to increase this patient care is by using electronic health records (EHRs) as these types of systems benefit your patient in four different ways: more efficient documentation, faster records retrieval, more patient control, and automated health-related reminders.
Benefit #1: More Efficient Documentation
Providing your patients higher quality care requires that you achieve a certain level of efficiency with your documentation. EHRs aid in this productivity by reducing human error as various software controls eliminate the need for healthcare information to be manually inputted into the system.
EHR macros also enable the user to combine tasks, saving time and improving productivity. A Graphic User Interface (GUI) improves cognition. The publication by the University of Maryland’s computer science program explains that “a good GUI makes the application easy, practical, and efficient to use.” Improve efficiency, improve patient care, improve profitability.
Benefit #2: Faster Records Retrieval
Have you ever had a patient discontinue your chiropractic services only to return years later? When that happens, are you able to easily access this individual’s records, enabling you to accurately assess his or her condition and how it has changed over time? If you use an EHR, your answer to that question is likely yes.
If you rely on paper files to house your patient records and documentation, it’s highly probable that retrieving the person’s file requires a trip to the deep, dark recesses of the basement. This extra effort is both an uncomfortable and an unproductive use of your staff’s time.
EHRs keep your patient records at your fingertips, no matter how long it’s been since you accessed them. They also give you quicker access to patient records, whether your goal is to read them or update them.
Benefit #3: More Patient Control
Patients experience a higher level of patient care with EHRs partly because they have more control over their health and recordkeeping. For instance, patient portals allow them to access their records any time of the day or night, not just during regular business hours when the office may be busy.
Additionally, by offering online scheduling and the ability to complete digital intake forms, patients can manage these tasks when it is convenient for them. This feature eliminates a rushed feeling patients may have when completing intake forms.
Benefit #4: Automated Health-Related Reminders
A fourth benefit EHRs offer when it comes to improved patient care falls under the realm of automated health reminders. These reminders come in three flavors: Patient reminders, Provider Reminders, and Office reminders – all of which improve the quality and continuity of the patient’s health care.
Reminding patients of their appointments and the importance of continued care “can help individuals manage their health and healthcare,” says the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, adding that these types of electronic notifications “serve as a liaison between patients, providers, and the health care system.”
Provider reminders are needed to aid the practitioner in their clinical decision making. Example of these would be an alert to re-examining the patient after a set period or a warning that treatment is contraindicated based on a medical history or drug interactions.
Lastly, an office related reminders help staff monitor and take action on different scheduling or accounting needs. Everyone would rather not be surprised by a growing balance or canceled appointment. These reminders make managing administrative and billing information much less stressful for the staff.
Providing a higher level of care increases the value of your services to your patients, ultimately improving your profits as a result. Using an EHR is just one way to raise that level, yet it’s one that does so from multiple standpoints, making it more efficient than other patient management options.