When a patient feels the support of an entire healthcare team, they are more likely to be engaged. And although physicians can’t force their patients to be engaged with their own health, they can certainly provide them with a variety of engagement tools. In order to provide these resources, healthcare centers need access to quality patient data.
The importance of patient engagement in healthcare shouldn’t be misunderstood. Engaged patients end to have greater trust in their healthcare providers, which ultimately leads to improved patient experiences because physicians are better able to treat them thanks to their trust and honesty. It should be noted that in regards to patient data, the only way it’s of any value is if it’s comprehensible. This means advanced EHR systems must be in place that feature the capabilities to capture, store, analyze, and share data.
Understanding the Perils
What happens when a physician has a massive amount of data that isn’t properly structured or formatted? The data becomes useless. In fact, bad data can lead a loss in both efficiency and productivity. For instance, if preventative care lists are made and not updated regularly, this leads to many miscommunication errors. If receptionists spend their time calling and setting up appointments for services that are not needed, this wastes both the patients’ and facility’s time.
Without quality data, physicians and patients waste already-limited resources. And while all patients need to be engaged to some extent, it’s no secret that high-risk patients need it much more. With quality data, healthcare facilities can achieve optimal use of their resources and services.
Developing a Culture of Quality
When a culture of quality is developed, this progresses an entire healthcare workforce toward better patient care. It’s not that some physicians aren’t readily trying to achieve this same goal, but without the right data and resources, it becomes impossible to provide engagement on both the physician and patient ends. Data allows focused care to take place. It’s involves making treatment decisions based on evidential factors. Furthermore, it results in an efficient, streamlined workflow — improving treatment, quality, and results.
Patients Want to be Engaged
A Harris Poll found that 85 percent of patients want the ability to phone or email their physicians without having to make an appointment. Another poll found that 43 percent of Americans want the ability to check their vitals and perform various medical tasks on their smartphones. These findings clearly indicate that patients want to be engaged in their health.
Producing Quality Data
So, if patients want to be engaged and managing populations of patients is becoming the norm, then quality data should be easy to produce, right? Not exactly. It’s through the ability to aggregate data across the continuum of care that quality data can be produced. Data must be easily accessible, simple to read/analyze, and have a straightforward-sharing process that meets all HIPAA guidelines.
What Does Your EHR System Look Like?
An astonishing 80 percent of physicians are not satisfied with their EHR systems. They say it leads to a loss in documentation time and a decrease in patient engagement. All in all, they believe their EHR systems are too time consuming. Clinical environments operate on a fast basis, anyway. When time is taken away from patient engagement, this results in the achievement of fewer preferred outcomes.
Deploying a flexible, scalable, and simple-to-use EHR system is not easy. It takes much planning and careful deployment. All staff members who have any interaction with the system need to go through extensive training, and most importantly, 24/7 support should be available. This support should be provided during the planning process, during installation, and for as long as the system stays in place. If a new EHR system is replacing an older one, support from both sides will most likely be needed.
If your facility is looking to increase patient engagement in healthcare, you should start by taking a look at your current EHR system. It’s with a well-developed and deployed system that your facility can produce quality data that gets shared with the right physicians at the right time.