Just like the attendees of New York Fashion week deciding what designer’s runway show they plan to attend, healthcare tech geeks are prepping for the upcoming HIMSS conference and choosing what sessions they cannot miss in the lineup. I am no different.

The HIMSS organization is a forum that connects those of us in technology with those in healthcare. The conference is an annual opportunity for us to get together and discuss current topics and meet new people who love what they do.

The other day, I sat down with the calendar of events to see who was speaking and what topics I was excited to listen in on.

As I looked at the conference schedule, which is a solid 4 days long of sessions, occurring every hour at two different Las Vegas convention centers I was shocked at the sheer number of presentations. I counted up the number of sessions happening on the first full day we arrive: 333.

A handful of salient topics seemed to exist: Blockchain…EHR Security…Wearables…Patient Experience

I made a note to attend these forums, make sure I research these topics and do my best to present this information to my readers in the coming months.

For this blog, I’d like to expand my research on patient experience and how your EHR and patient portal affects that experience.


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While healthcare leaders are being faced with many priorities and limited resources, they may question the value of measuring and improving the patient’s experience. Yet there is increasing evidence linking patient experience to clinical and business outcomes.

In a recent study of patients using the patient portal over a seven-month period, hospital admissions were reduced by 38% and ER visits reduced by 21%.

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Good patient experience is associated with lower medical malpractice risk too. A 2009 study found that for each drop in patient-reported scores along a five-step score of “very good” to “very poor,” the likelihood of a provider being named in a malpractice suit increased by 21.7%.
hospital admission reduced, 38%
ER visits reduced, 21.70%

Read more about EHR:

PATIENTS WHO USE THE PATIENT PORTAL

Relationship quality is a major predictor of patient loyalty; one study found patients reporting the poorest quality relationships with their physicians were three times more likely to voluntarily leave the practice than patients with the highest quality relationships.

Measures of patient experience also can reveal important system problems, such as delays in returning test results and gaps in communication.
Additionally, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes a new provision for measuring and reporting patient experience and will be implemented by 2019. This includes two physician payment programs which will likely include a quality

measurement formula used for payment.

Make Your Patient Portal Your Biggest Patient Advocate

Many of us have used an online appointment scheduling system to make or change an appointment with our physician. You have probably even used this program to pay a bill or confirm an appointment. However, recent updates to some of the advanced patient portals are going beyond these basic functions and truly helping the patient have a complete online experience with their provider.

Care coordination and their related programs are enhancing the patient experience and improving the quality of care. These programs assist the patient in managing their own healthcare.

Kristina Sheridan is a researcher at the MITRE Corporation. She will talk about patient empowerment at the HIMSS later this month. This includes investing in as many resources in the care one receives outside the clinical setting as inside it

“To truly empower patients, we need to invest in tools that will ease the burden of their illness on a daily basis and help them capture their input in real time, as they think it, rather than expecting them to remember a month of changes during their appointments,” Kristina says.

To be truly effective, the patient should be able to record their symptoms as they occur between appointments, text or email communicate with their physician to potentially avoid a costly or unnecessary office or ER visit, afford easy access to securely stored charts and medical history by any treating physician or the patient, and a visual and descriptive prescription drug interaction portal that stores all medicine a patient has use history.

An excellent reference for these and other applications for total care coordination are listed here.

The EHR and patient portals can also serve as excellent resources for reminders for immunizations and preventative services and price transparency for services.

Patient Health Records (PHRs)

A personal or patient health record is an application used by the patients to maintain and manage their own health information. A PHR can be wholly set up and maintained by the patient themselves or it can be tethered to a healthcare organization’s EHR system.

Both systems encourage the patient to become more involved in their own healthcare, or that of others for whom they are authorized to do so.

With PHRs, patients can log into their own records and see, for example, the trend of their lab results over the last year. That kind of information can motivate patients to take medications or continue with lifestyle changes that have shown improvement to their health.

Are You Getting The Most Out Of Your EHR?

Your EHR can be the bridge between the patient experience and the quality healthcare your physicians are already providing.

With a dialed in EHR, optimal workflows, speedy internet connections, cloud servers and the staff you currently have, your office will see increased patient satisfaction.

Consider some of the other ways managers have been able to improve patient ratings:

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To keep getting the most out of your EHR try the following:

  • Consider electing a champion of technology or someone who likes to tinker and refine IT – then share the tricks that work.
  • Keep an eye on what other centers are doing with their EHRs and use those projects as models for your own center.
  • Be willing to make changes to your own processes, when feasible, so that you can better dovetail with the EHR.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your EHR vendor.