Improving Patient Relationships with Electronic Records (#EHR)

patient_recordFor many people the world of medical information handling is a mystery. Because of the sensitive nature of medical records, along with a myriad of laws governing access to files, it can even be tough to get a copy of your very own medical records.

Thankfully, technology has allowed medical services providers with easy, efficient ways to solve these problems through the use of electronic health records.

In fact, not only has EHR technology made it easier to legally and safely access medical information, it has also improved healthcare relationships.

How Are Healthcare Relationships Improved?

When patients are able to have access to certain portions of their medical records online, it can foster a more personal experience with the patient’s healthcare provider.

This can go on to build patient loyalty, meaning they will continue to see the same provider for all of their needs.

In turn, physicians can offer more consistent treatment over the course of a condition.

As pointed out in the article, “Engaging Patients with Access to Their Personal Health Record,” it’s also pointed out that EHR technology can help patients to track their visits, prescriptions, and conditions.

This ability can help patients to take better care of themselves, review instructions and notes from physicians, and know when to schedule appointments or seek healthcare services.

Check Your EHR System Often

Most physicians’ offices choose to utilize a third-party provider for their EHR, and while this provides a number of benefits, such as there being no need to maintain software updates, it can come with disadvantages.

A poorly designed and managed EHR system can ultimately cost more over time in lost patients when information is not available or is displayed incorrectly.

As a health professional, you know how important accuracy is to patient wellbeing, and even a small EHR glitch could potentially lead to serious health problems.

This means that you will need to not only vet your EHR provider very carefully, but you’ll also need to routinely check important parts of the system to ensure that they are working properly and providing correct, updated information.

Finally, let patients know about your EHR offerings and encourage them to use your system.

Many electronic health records can be accessed via the Internet using secure login information, so patients are able to view data at home, work, or on the go. Consider handing out flyers to patients, putting up signs in your office, and sending out reminder emails advertising your EHR services.

Remember, if no one knows about these options, they won’t use them, and if they don’t use them, you’re wasting time and money.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include medical technology and business development.

Electronic Health Records Changing Doctor-Patient Relationship

medicineMaybe you noticed something a little different the last time you visited the doctor. Was there a computer in the room? Did you get a message after you left letting you know your records were electronically filed?

Lately, many doctors are shifting towards electronic health records and these are providing a better relationship between patient and doctor, which in turn means better health care.

Benefits of Electronic Medical Records

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) can provide better health care by being accessible to the doctor at all times.

For instance, a doctor can come in the room and pull up all the patients’ records and history on the computer. Everything is there in front of him, including drug allergies, past histories, past symptoms and problems.

Another benefit of EMR is that electronic records (properly backed up) can’t be lost or destroyed. If there is a fire or water damage, records are still safe.

Doctors can also reference your records when they aren’t in the office, like after hours, which can be helpful if a patient needs something in the middle of the night.

EMRs can be shared with the patient as well. Many doctors now are encouraging patients to create electronic portals to view assessments, diagnosis and follow up after a visit. This keeps communication clear and confusion at a minimum.

With EMR’s, multiple people can work on them at once, so things can be done more efficiently. This helps get patients get taken care of better and faster. There’s not paper shuffling and handing off records from one person to another.

Another benefit is EMRs are easier to share than paper records. If you need to get your own or your child’s records to another doctor, records can be sent electronically rather than paying for and delivering a copy. It’s just another facet of convenience.

There is also less chance for mistakes with EMR. Files will be less apt to be lost, confused or mixed up. Allergies can be clearly marked. Mistakes can cost lives in the medical world, and electronic records can help prevent them.

Transfer from Paper to EMR

When doctors switch from paper records to EMR, there will be some transition time. At some point, though, doctors will be able to get rid of paper records, which mean no more fat files in space stealing filing cabinets.

In the meantime there will be training within the office and a search for finding the right EMR service.

As the article, “Finding the right EMR for pediatrics” looks at, doctors will take some research and investigation, but it’s all part of the transition.

When it comes to medical issues, the easier something is the better.

If transferring records to a specialist is a little easier or faster, it makes the whole process more bearable. If appointments can be more thorough and follow up clearer, medical care can be better. With EMR, this is possible.

Doctors can have information at their fingertips, and everything from updating records to prescribing medicine and requesting follow up care can be easier and more convenient.

It’s a win-win for doctors and patients alike.

About the Author: Heather Legg is an independent writer who covers topics related to social media, small business and health and well-being.

Making Sure Patients’ EHRs Are Healthy

medicineElectronic health records or EHRs, are digital versions of files and records that personal physicians and doctors’ offices keep on patients.

The sweeping move to EHRs came about partially because of a systemic move toward digital content over paper, and partially because healthcare governing bodies demanded it.

With the advent of HIPPA, where everyone’s personal health information became a privacy issue, health care providers became legally liable if that data fell into the wrong hands. EHRs are an organic response to the increased need for verifiable security.

Problem With EHRs

The problem with EHRs is that they became necessary before the staff were ready to utilize it. It can be compared to giving a child a laptop on Dec. 1 and asking him or her to create an Excel spreadsheet to make a list for Santa Claus. It’s not that the child wouldn’t eventually be able to learn how to create the spreadsheet, but simply handing over the software and asking for results in a tight time frame is asking a lot.

So it is with EHRs. Highly competent medical staff was often suddenly being forced to use a brand new system – with very little instruction, mind you – while at the same time having to continue the day to day operations of the doctor’s office.

How to Get up to Speed

In a doctor’s office, where real people’s lives can be hanging in the balance, hitting the ground running with electronic record keeping isn’t ideal, for staff or patients.

As the following article looks at, here’s how to tell if your EHR system is user-friendly, and some suggestions on how to remedy the situation.

Dealing with Longer Patient Wait Times

A doctor’s office should always have a pretty good idea of the average wait time for a patient to be seen for their appointment at various times of the day.

Following the implementation of an EHR, another reading should be taken to see how the patient wait times are being affected. If, as is to be expected, the wait times are markedly longer, something should be done.

The patient experience should be positively impacted with the use of EHRs, not negatively. One temporary way to deal with longer patient wait times is to allow staff to use the old system during busy times, just until they become proficient with the new system.

Then, during off hours, have an outside service integrate those “old method” records into the new EHR system. In that way, the patient doesn’t have to suffer through the learning curve of the staff, along with whatever else they’re suffering through.

Handling a Poor EHR Choice

Many times, companies choose data management systems poorly, and it’s usually not their fault. Maybe they were blinded by a great salesperson, didn’t have a good handle of their own needs, or chose to save money instead of investing in something more costly but more robust.

Whatever the reason, when you’re mired in the middle of a poor EHR choice, it can be tough to know whether you should turn back, or try to plod on through.

The answer is in determining how your work flow is being affected. If the staff have been sufficiently trained and had enough time to learn the system, and they’re still not getting it right, it’s time to back out and look elsewhere.

It’s better to lose a little time in retracing your EHR software steps so you wind up with something that can bring you into the future of the practice, than to fall deeper and deeper into a chasm of cheap software you can’t escape from.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.

Doctors Sending More Than Electronic Messages

medicineTechnology is changing the medical profession for the better and patients all across the country are benefiting from the change. From new and improved equipment to tech-savvy doctors and nurses, technology and good health are quickly becoming synonymous.

Here are just a few ways your hospital and its staff can take advantage of the technological age:

Electronic Medical Records

Hospitals nationwide have turned to electronic medical records and for good reason. Electronic records allow your hospital to input patient information more accurately and more efficiently.

In addition, your staff has access to these records whether they are in the exam room or the ER.

Also, electronic medical records increase file redundancy, which is something paper files simply can’t provide.

Thanks to electronic medical record technology, your hospital can rest assured patient information is safe, secure, backed up, and readily available at a moment’s notice.

Mobile Technology

Mobile technology is sweeping the medical industry and your hospital can definitely take advantage of the mobile trend.

As the following article looks at, if you’re wondering how mass text messaging helps doctors cut down on missed appointments, it all starts with adopting mobile technology in your hospital.

Doctors can send mass texts to nurses and entire departments in real-time and get immediate responses. Likewise, doctors can communicate with one another and other medical staff via text without having to discuss patient information out loud.

Mobile technology in the medical environment is more than just sending electronic messages; it’s improving and expediting hospital communications. This kind of communication immediacy is crucial in hospitals where timing is everything.

Smart Medical Equipment

Technological advancements in medical equipment are taking healthcare to all new heights. Smart machines for example are growing in popularity in medical facilities across the nation due to their monitoring capabilities.

Smart machines such as heart monitors, respiration devices, and other vital sign monitoring equipment can actually track conditions specific to particular patients.

When vitals change or there’s an issue, smart equipment can adjust medication levels, notify nurses of specific activities, and send alerts to physicians, no matter where they are on the hospital campus.

Improved Communications

Mobile and online technology can help improve communication between your hospital’s staff members, but it can also help physicians better communicate with patients.

By implementing a customer login portal alongside your hospital’s website, you can give patients the opportunity to message their doctors with any questions they may have.

Whether it’s a post-op question or a general health related concern following a checkup, patient website portals are a great way to improve communications.

Alongside patient/doctor outreach, patient portals are also a more efficient way to schedule checkups and deliver appointment reminders through online messaging or mobile messaging.

Tracking Staff Members

From physicians to nurses and clinicians, there are a lot of moving parts in hospitals. In order to help keep track of essential staff members, many hospitals are using radio frequency ID badges to keep track of staffers in real time.

RFID badges are helpful in emergency situations when the ER and other medical departments need to know the locations of certain staff members. By adopting RFID tracking technology in staff ID badges, your hospital can ensure doctors and nurses are always in the right place at the right time.

From mobile technology to smart equipment, it’s plain to see that doctors are doing more than just sending messages.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including healthcare and technology.

Online Accessibility Leading to Improved Relations Between Company and Customer

patient_recordPatient portals are being used more frequently by hospitals and other businesses as a way of improving relations between company and customer. It can be a challenge, however, to get patients to grasp the extraordinary benefit from patient portals.

Here are some of the ways that patient portals can help both the provider and the customer:

Improved Communication

Appointment reminders and prescription refill notifications are time consuming tasks that can eat up entire mornings for office staff. With patient portals, staff can program in recurring reminders and notifications once, and have it done on an as-needed basis.

Patients that may not have been available by email or telephone can receive the important messages when they log into their online portal.

Supplemental Information

Patient portals can be a terrific way to share supplemental information about a patient’s condition with the patient in a non-intrusive manner. As the following article looks at, this is one great method by which hospitals are learning how to get patients to use the patient portal.

By letting them know that the portal is also a valuable tool for information about their condition, doctors and medical staff can increase awareness about the portal as well as giving the patient yet another reason to use it.

Privacy

Patients who avail themselves of the patient portal can use it in complete silence and privacy, even when others are in the room.

This allows them to take care of anything they need to tend to without having their private matters discussed out loud on the telephone in the presence of a visiting relative, neighbor or friend.

Immediate Accessibility

As long as the patient has a reliable Internet connection, they can access their portal from anywhere, immediately.

If they are at the pharmacy, and can’t remember the name of an over-the-counter medication the doctor suggested, they can log in on a smart phone and get the name.

Enhanced Security

Having immediate access to the patient portal also gives patients a subtle yet valuable sense of enhanced security.

It may make them feel like the doctor is always on call, and it can give them the feeling that their condition is being taken seriously by the medical staff.

Better Records

A patient portal keeps track of medical records automatically and efficiently, something with which your business also wants to make sure is a priority when it comes to customer records, especially as it relates to security.

Once the foundation is built, the portal is a wonderful way for both patient and medical professional to review the history of the care the patient has received, as well as any concerns they may have expressed via the portal.

More Accountability

Better record keeping via the portal also ensures more accountability as far as insurance claims go.

When patients use the portal, they can easily reference insurance claims and bills that have been paid or that are outstanding. This kind of transparency can be very reassuring to all patients, but particularly for those who struggle financially.

Patient portals are one way that technology helps both patients and hospitals. When hospitals work hard to get the patients online and using the portal, both benefit.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.

Big Data Transforming the Emergency Room

When it comes to the health of the nation, big data is changing the idea of healthcare in some pretty big ways.

Big Data on Blue Direction Sign.

Hospital emergency rooms are fueled by information in the form of data and big data is helping to manage everything from patient information to medical equipment data.

With health and technology in mind, here are a handful of ways big data is transforming emergency rooms and benefiting you, the patient:

Patient Records and Security

Whether you make frequent trips to the ER or you’ve only been once or twice, the hospital uses your records to access important medical information. Big data is helping hospitals manage patient records to ensure each doctor and emergency care technician has the latest medical information for each patient.

From prescription updates to allergies, your patient records give hospitals a glimpse into your wellbeing. With big data, the ER can access your files instantly and update your condition in real-time so other physicians who treat you are on the same page.

Additionally, big data providers offer hospitals and ERs the latest security features.

With encrypted big data security, you can rest assured your sensitive medical files are safe, secure, and available for medical professionals only.

ER Patient Notifications

As the following article shows, If you’ve ever wondered how big data can transform consumer finance, then you should take into consideration return visits to the ER. Hospital visits and visits to the ER can make your insurance premiums skyrocket and end up costing you a ton in out-of-pocket expenses.

Fortunately, big data is helping hospitals better track your health condition even after you leave the ER. With big data analytics, hospitals are able to dispatch care coordinators to your house based on your real-time recovery status.

Likewise, with the help of big data, your personal physician can be notified anytime you visit the ER.

From care coordinators to ER notifications, big data is helping reduce the time you spend in the ER, which is helping to improve your finances.

Machine Monitoring

Today’s ERs use a massive amount of technology to make sure patients like you receive the best treatment possible.

From devices that continuously monitor vitals to machines that administer fluids and medicine, big data is helping the medical world optimize the patient treatment process.

Not only can big data track which patients receive which treatments and when, it can instantaneously update the hospital’s network. This means all care providers within the ER are up to speed on your exact treatment cycle.

Big Data in Action

Big Data is already hard at work ensuring your ER visit is a smooth and worry-free as possible.

For example, Kaiser Permanente is implementing real-time electronic health records to improve customer visits and expedite ER wait times.

Likewise, California-based Blue Shield is using big data to help deliver healthcare based on treatment success rates from previous patients.

This integrated technology is helping doctors in the ER base their care on coordinated evidence, which is decreasing ER visits by increasing recovery rates.

Thanks to big data, the ER is becoming a more optimized healthcare environment.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including personal health and technology.

The Right Prescription for Medical Software

The medical world is evolving at the speed of life and hospital software is going along for the ride. With the right software, hospitals across the country are streamlining their daily processes and making life easier for staffers and their patients.

shutterstock_155442434 ResizeWhen it comes to hospital optimization, here are just a few types of software that are improving the medical community:

Medicine and Technology

Technology and the enhancement of hospital-friendly software create a more efficient medical environment. If your hospital is reluctant to adopt new forms of medical software for fear of the unknown, it’s time to change your mindset.

Whether it is software that helps you better track the progress of your patients or a program that puts your staff on the same page, software is helping to improve and streamline the medical practice.

As long as your hospital is properly equipped and your staff is trained in the new technology, medical software will make a vast improvement on your hospital and the medical practice as a whole.

Electronic Health Records

Your patients are your hospital’s top priority, which is why it’s so important to track their medical progress closely. Misdiagnoses and repetitive unsuccessful treatments for the same illness simply won’t win the health battle.

Luckily, electronic health records (EHR) software is helping doctors, nurses, and staff keep better track of patients. EHR can assist your hospital with managing patient documents and files, medications, lab test results, and diagnoses. With EHR, your hospital will have up to date information on each one of its patients.

As the following article “RCM Software: Time to plug those revenue leaks” shows, such software can be a great tool in today’s technological world to make sure information does not slip through the cracks.

Hospitals aren’t charities and if your facility isn’t on top of its finances, it could spell trouble. Revenue cycle management (RCM) software is specifically designed to manage your hospital’s patient-to-pay cycle.

With RCM software, your hospital can track billing, co-pay collections, coding, and other financial areas. In addition, RCM allows your hospital to automatically manage claim errors, cash flow, and accounts receivable data.

Practice Management Software

When it comes to the daily operations of your hospital, it’s important to make sure all departments are working in unison. Besides, when there’s a lack in communication between one or two departments, it can affect the way your entire hospital functions.

Medical practice management software can help the various departments within your hospital communicate and work together.

From appointment scheduling to billing to capturing and tracking patient information, practice management software can help your hospital run more efficiently.

On the Go Apps

Your hospital’s staff is constantly on the move, so it’s important to make sure they can take patient information with them wherever they go. Most of the software mentioned above has an on the go component in the form of mobile apps.

When equipped with mobile devices such as tablets, doctors, nurses, and the rest of your hospital’s staff can make updates and additions to software programs in the moment and on the go. This type of accessibility takes efficiency to a whole new level.

With the right medical software, your hospital’s operations will receive a clean bill of health.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including personal health and technology.