Nov 17, 2014
There is plenty of motivation for hospitals and medical practices to turn to EHRs, but why do their patients want them to?
If there was any uncertainty that the majority of patients do in fact prefer the use of Electronic Health Records to the traditional paper method, an ONC Survey was released this past week that will silence the doubters. According to the study, 76% of Americans want their healthcare providers to use an EHR, thus validating the notion that there is a large amount of support backing the use of EHRs.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the benefits of Electronic Health Records and why the healthcare industry should embrace them. The advantages are undeniable: lower costs, increased efficiency, and the ability to make more accurate decisions. As many hospitals and medical practices have adopted EHRs the last few years, the amount of publicity received by the benefits of EHRs has been plentiful. However, nearly all of that attention has been aimed at healthcare professionals, neglecting to address another significant perspective – why do patients want you to use EHRs?
Perhaps the most immediately noticeable advantage of EHRs from your perspective is the amount of time saved. The typical procedures that require one’s health record operate much more efficiently thanks to their electronic capabilities. While EHRs do limit the amount of time spent in the waiting room or on paperwork, the amount of time saved extends much further than a patient’s standard face-to-face appointments with their physician. For example, doctors discussing a particular patients health record with other doctors tends to be a relatively prolonged process. However, this can be a much smoother, and less time-consuming process when using EHRs, which in turn saves the patient time.
Patients want to be involved in the discussions and decisions that go into their own personal health and how they are cared for. They want to know what’s going on at all times, and know that their input is taken seriously. They want to feel comfortable knowing they have access to their health records, appointment summaries, lab results, and possibly even their doctor at all times. With EHRs and the patient portal functionality included in the software, all of this is much more feasible. Patients are able to be much more proactive with their health, increasing their engagement and the effectiveness of their care.
The formalities encompassing your patient’s healthcare tend to be very irritating. Dealing with paperwork, waiting time, and struggling to access and share their health records can be quite the hassle. However, those headaches are reduced dramatically by the convenience of EHRs. As HealthIT.gov puts it, EHRs can significantly reduce the healthcare “hassle factor.” When patients are able to spend less time worrying about technicalities, they are able to spend more time being productive and proactive with their healthcare.
The result of the individual benefits presented by the use of Electronic Health Records? Better healthcare in general. Your patients will enjoy the time saved, increased involvement, and reduced hassle – but in the grand scheme of things, what matters most to them is that they receive the best possible care they can get. And simply put, without the implementation of EHRs, they won’t be getting that. EHRs enhance the effectiveness of the care you are able to deliver, which in turn leads to a happier, healthier patient.
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