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Patients who are more involved in their personal healthcare, experience better outcomes and lower costs. It follows that healthcare organizations leverage patient engagement to improve outcomes throughimproved care atreduced expense. While this isn’t a new phenomenon, the way healthcare organizations engagewith patients is new. Information technologyhas evolved to support patient engagement and improved health outcomes in a variety of ways.
“Electronic medical records have become the new normal, courtesy of federal mandates, incentives and penalties”
Engagement Starts When a Patient Presents
Patient engagementencompasses a range of interactions, from capturing consents to providing access to medical records. The opportunities for failed patient engagement begin the moment a patient presents him or herself at the registration desk. Providers understand that first impressions are important, so they are taking steps to ensure patients can quickly get the care they need from when they first present.
Upon arrival, patients must provide a great deal of information—information traditionally collected using a number of different forms, all of which require similar information (i.e., name, address, phone number, etc.).Instead of starting a patient’s healthcare experience with this burdensome first step, providers now capture information electronically via enterprise information platforms and tablets. Once registered, patient data saves to the system and automatically pre-populates appropriate intake forms any time that patient returns for future care.
Streamliningregistrationsaves patients’ time and frustration while also helping healthcare providers increase accuracy and productivity. Instead of keying patient registration content from those redundant paper formsinto the electronic medical record, staff members have the time to focus on higher value tasks—like helping patients get in front of a doctor more quickly.
Collecting redundant information on paper forms delay care, while creating bottlenecks for staff and poor first impressions for patients. As patient satisfaction is a priority for every healthcare organization, capturing patient information electronically is imperative—and not just at registration.
Capturing Content at Bedside
Electronic medical records have become the new normal, courtesy of federal mandates, incentives and penalties. While the intention was for better, more consistent and more accurate record-keeping, it has created new concerns. Many patients now feel thatclinicians spend more time entering information into the computer and less time consulting with them and delivering care. Clinicians will certainly vary in their “bedside manners,” but one way to level the playing field is to provide technology that fosters more interaction than a bulky, large desktop monitor does.
Mobile technology gives clinicians the feeling of a clipboard while providing them with access to immediate information.When used while consulting with patients, engagement levels improve and patients feel they receive the personal attention they need.
Clinicians may now rely on these nimble tablets and sophisticated mobile data capture technology to complete bedside registration forms and questionnaires, review education forms and clinical documentation as well as secure electronic signatures forinformed consents. The completed documents and the discrete data captured with this mobile technology become instantly available to clinicians through the EMR. There’s no more printing, scanning or indexingand more time to look patients in the eye while delivering care.
Making Content Accessible to Patients and their Clinicians
Patients want to better understand the healthcare decision-making process and connect with clinicians for healthier and better outcomes. To get a more complete view of a patient’s history and any previous care, clinicians need access to records from other clinicians and healthcare organizations.
Cross-enterprise document sharing (XDS) enables healthcare organizations to share patient content in a standardized manner across the enterprise and with other healthcare providers. This enables clinicians to access a more complete patient record through the EMR, and patients have access through patient portals.
This content is being exchanged between EMRs, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platforms, and Vendor Neutral Archives (VNAs). It’s critical for these systems to integrate and work together instead of becoming information silos.Enterprise information platforms, such as OnBase by Hyland, are uniquely capable of handling both clinical and administrative content, creating one location for all content that resides outside of EMRs, Electronic Resource Planning (ERP) systems and billing systems. With one system to secure, maintain and integrate, it makes the sharing of information across the organization and with other providers much easier.
Today’s patients are increasingly familiar with mobile technologies and, as a result, there is a growing expectation that their healthcare providers utilize these same technologies when delivering care. By creating a more complete patient record accessible by both clinicians and patients, outcomes will improve and costs will decline. In the end, everybody wins.