As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, we probably cannot think about an industry or human activity that would not involve digital technology. Computers and software help us greatly in completing many tasks that would either be impossible to complete or would be completed much slower and less effectively. Everyone, from a bus driver and passenger to a doctor and patient, works with computers today to enhance the efficiency of their interaction. Some digital means must be attended with additional care, though, in order to allow the maximum effect. An example of such means is electronic health records.
Saving Our Time, Health, and Money
Electronic health records (EHRs) are some of the most efficient tools to keep track of the medical history of a person. Essentially, it works like a regular physical health record, yet with all benefits offered by its digital nature. Whatever clinic or hospital the patient visits, you can retrieve their full medical history in a matter of seconds if the place works with EHRs. Moreover, some EHRs can even be accessible in other countries if needed. The patients might only need to address some patent translation companies in case the language of that country differs from the one in their record. All of these saves a lot of time, nerve, and money. And all of this can affect the health of patients only positively.
Yet, technology can be sometimes challenging to decipher. Lots of digital tools are still relatively new, despite being in use for nearly 20 years. This means you have to learn to use them.
Top 8 Tips for Effective Use of Electronic Health Records
Here are some of the most effective practices of using electronic health records. They will save time, money, and health not only for the patient but also for you as a doctor.
- Be patient-centered. One of many concerns that people have with digital technology today is the lack of direct human involvement in all major processes. While computers and software do a lot for us, thus, allowing us more time and flexibility, human interaction must still remain, especially in healthcare. Don’t ever forget about your patient, try not to focus on the EHR all the time (studying the patient’s history prior to the appointment will help), and always keep visual contact.
- Enlighten your patients about the benefits of EHRs. Many people still have issues with EHRs mainly because they don’t always manage to learn about their benefits. Fill that gap and make sure to list all the best things that your patient gets when using an EHR. This will essentially kill two birds with one stone as you’ll attend to the human interaction point mentioned earlier as well as tell your patients about EHRs all they need to know.
- Contribute as much as possible to your patient’s EHR. This is something plainly reasonable to do. You’d certainly like it if your patient’s history was clear and complete, would you? Well, other doctors feel the same, so contributing to the development of common sense in this direction is a good idea.
- Keep a record of every appointment you have. If your EHR system allows it, make sure to leave a note about every appointment you have. You can include some medical information that the patient might not understand or a reminder to check on something particular next time. This way you and other doctors will have a more complete picture of the patient and their state.
- Study every patient before the appointment takes place. Make sure to get as much as possible for the patient’s EHR and memorize the main bits. This will ensure that you don’t lose the interpersonal connection between your patient and yourself. On top of that, it’s always great to be prepared.
- Recap your patient’s history right before the appointment. Just about 15 minutes before your patient is about to enter your office, recap all the main bits from the previous point. When you have lots of patients, you will definitely forget something, even if it’s very important. Your goal here is to prevent that from happening.
- Use templates for information documenting. Working with a relatively homogenous scope of patients, you’ll likely have to record similar information all the time. For those parts, consider having templates recorded directly in the EHR system for greater convenience and dexterity of work.
- Keep track of updates of your EHR system. Just like any technology, EHR systems update quite often. Make sure not to miss them, as well as information as to what is being changed with every update. Sometimes, the developers might add something extremely useful. Other times, they might add something very buggy. Make sure you’re aware of what’s to not be caught off guard by anything.
Keeping Yourself Digitized
Modern digital technology is an extraordinary gift of human civilization that allows us to work faster and much more efficiently. At the same time, such technology often seems to be rather new and undiscovered yet. This doesn’t mean that we don’t know what we’re doing. It’s rather about constantly learning what this technology has to offer. When it comes to human lives and health, this technology must always be properly studied and approached in order to avoid any unwanted consequences.