Below is an article from EHR Intelligence, outlining how author Robert Green believes EHR – enabled staff members can and do influence the reputations of clinics.
A conversation I shared with the physicians and manager of a small pediatric clinic several years ago
is still a timely example of how fundamental people and health IT are to determining a clinic’s reputation and conversations about improving it. The physicians had decided years earlier that the value of making a commitment to EHR was important to the consistency not only of the daily patient experience but also between physicians who substitute for one a
nother. What they recognized was that the contents of the EHR were as important for the sake of replacing bad handwriting in notes and idiosyncratic approaches to documentation as they were for enabling one physician to step in for another and pick up the conversation with a patient where it left it off.
Being able to differentiate one’s own clinic from the next comes from the recognition that only
a coordinated team can deliver a consistent experience, regardless of where this patient experience begins and ends. A clinic can either take the opportunity to define its own reputation through its approach to patient engagement or have its reputa
tion determined by its patients, who will talk to each other about what should have happened and why and why.
Accessibility of electronic health information is already changing the nature of the patient-clinic interaction. We all know of the reputations of the clinics in our neighborhoods that have evolved over time. And these reputations I’m referring to have had little to do with their online or “digital” reputation. The experiences that patients and clinic staff have shared over the years (perhaps even generations) that have established these reputations are those that have occurred between people in the face-to-face interactions in the clinic. However, as the patient experience continues to grow in terms of population health outcomes and the individual’s day-to-day experience, it is an important time for physicians and their staff to recognize how to participate in the culture of care that is defined by the brand that is the physician as well as the clinic as a whole.
Just as the accessibility of health information continues to expand from the patient’s personal history to general educational material in digital form, so too is the nature of the interaction between patient and clinic expanding. Now we are seeing the convergence of those longstanding reputations built upon one-on-one encounters and digital reputation established by connecting with patients in convenient formats and online.
This evolution demands a new level of reception in the clinic, one requiring a sustained and fully engaged dialogue among the entire clinic staff. The conversation about traditional and digital patient experiences is one that represents a great opportunity to accept the gratitude of each patient. Whether it’s an unconditional “thank you” or even one that is qualified with a comment or concern for future encounters, this is the reputation of the clinic as a whole and each individual physician. What’s more, because this patient experience is happening in so many ways well beyond the walls of the exam room, a fully engaged staff members will find themselves contributing to this reputation more every day.
Whereas in the past the patient experience was defined by the coveted clinic appointment, what happens before and subsequent to that encounter has now become equally important in terms of the reputation of the clinic and physician. The challenge is to keep in mind within conversations about and interactions related to EHR and health IT that this converged clinic reputation is driven by a well-defined patient experience supported by a fully engaged clinic staff.
Source: www.ehrintelligence.com; Robert Green, November 20, 2012.