Advertisement

Health IT: Patients Ready, Docs Lagging

Patients are well ahead of providers in demanding online access to health information (IT) and communication tools, according to a new survey. Consumers are eager to use both the internet and mobile devices to connect with their healthcare data and their providers in much the same way they have come to conduct business with other professionals. In June 2012, the Optum Institute surveyed physicians, hospital executives, and adult consumers about health IT and aspects of patient-centered care. Researchers found that while physicians are rapidly adopting health IT, functions that would facilitate patient engagement are falling short. Other results from the study include: 75% of patients are willing to go online to view their medical records (76% are willing to view test results), but only 41% of physicians have EMR systems capable of giving patients timely access to this information. 62% of patients want to correspond online with their primary physician about their health, but only 46% of physicians have EMR systems capable of communicating patient-specific information to help patients make decisions about their health 65% of patients want appointment reminders via e-mail, but only 44% of physicians have EMR systems that provide guideline-based follow-up or screening reminders. The report also found that nearly two-thirds of consumers are interested or very interested in receiving appointment reminders by e-mail; 40% want text reminders. Only 28% want mailed appointment reminders, which are typically still the norm today. The report concludes that Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements set the bar too low, requiring that at least 50% of patients have access to their health information and that only 5% use that information and...

10 Ways to Make EMR Meaningful and Useful

OK, I am an EMR geek who isn’t so thrilled with the direction of EMR.  So what, I have been asked, would make EMR something that is really meaningful?  What would be the things that would truly help, and not just make more hoops for me to jump through?  A lot of this is not in the hands of the gods of MU, but in the realm of the demons of reimbursement, but I will give it a try anyhow. Here’s my list: 1. Require all visits to have a simple summary. One of the biggest problems I have with EMR is the “data diarrhea” it creates, throwing piles of words into notes that are not useful for anything but assuring compliance with billing codes. I waste a huge amount of time trying to figure out the specialists, colleagues, and even what my own assessment and plan was for any given visit. Each note should have an easily accessible visit summary (but not at the bottom of 5 pages of droll historical data I already know because I sent them the patient in the first place!). 2. Allow coding gibberish to be hidden. Related to #1 would be the ability to hide as much “fluff” in notes as possible.  I only care about the review of systems and a repetition of past histories 1 out of 100 times. Most of the time I am only interested in the history of the present illness, pertinent physical findings, and the plan generated from any given encounter. The rest of the note (which is about 75% of the words used) should be hidden,...
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Meaningful Use

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Meaningful Use

This July marked the 16th anniversary of the installation of our electronic medical record. Yup.  I am that weird. Over the first 10-14 years of my run as doctor uber-nerd, I believed that widespread adoption of EHR would be one of main things to drive efficiency in healthcare.  I told anyone I could corner about our drive to improve the quality of our care, while keeping our cash flow out of the red.  I preached the fact that it is possible for a small, privately owned practice to successfully adopt EHR while increasing revenue.  I heard people say it was only possible within a large hospital system, but saw many of those installations decrease office efficiency and quality of care.  I heard people say primary care doctors couldn’t afford EHR, while we had not only done well with our installation, but did so with one of the more expensive products at the time. To me, it was just a matter of time before everyone finally saw that I was right. The passage of the EHR incentive program (aka “meaningful use” criteria) was a huge validation for me: EHR was so good that the government would pay doctors to adopt it. I figured that once docs finally could implement an EHR without threatening their financial solvency, they would all become believers like me. But something funny happened on the way to meaningful use: I changed my mind. No, I didn’t stop thinking that EHR was a very powerful tool that could transform care. I didn’t pine for the days of paper charts (whatever they are). I certainly didn’t mind it when I...
[ HIDE/SHOW ]