ENTs, Are Your Patients Dissatisfied? Your EHR May Be to Blame
Health Information Technology (HIT) has become a central part of how ENTs run their practices. That same technology is likely culpable when it comes to increasingly dissatisfied patients.
But it’s not because the idea behind HIT is lacking but rather that some HIT providers have not yet achieved maturity in their offerings to fully deliver on the promises HIT holds. Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology is one such HIT. Despite the promises of EHR implementation, many ENTs are struggling to wrest some value from their EHR and pass on this value to disgruntled patients.
There are three areas where an EHR may fall short:
Staff Utilization of EHR Technology
The EHR technology you adopt can only be as successful as the extent to which your staff embrace and fully utilize it. Due to poor end-user acceptance by staff members, the practice is unable to benefit fully from the EHR. Getting your staff on board is the most important step towards utilizing any new technology. When you adopt the right EHR and fully on-board your staff, your practice workflow becomes more efficient, patient wait times reduce, and the amount of time you spend with each patient increases. All these will positively impact the sentiments your patients have towards your ENT practice.
Server-based vs. Cloud-based
The amount of downtime your EHR experiences can negatively affect your patients. When servers are down, your staff cannot complete tasks effectively and efficiently. Some tasks cannot be accomplished altogether, patients have longer wait times, scheduled appointments cannot be verified and so on. These are challenges all associated with local server-based EHR systems. The main issue is that as there’s no dedicated IT person to take care of the servers, so when technical problems arise, you must wait for the vendor to send someone.
Even worse is if the server becomes infected with a computer virus or some other disaster wipes out all patient records. Are there data backups? Where are they stored? These are very real dangers of having a local EHR installation.
On the other hand, cloud-based technologies offer far superior uptime, and offsite backups means your patients’ data is always safe. Switching from a local to a web-based system will result in less downtime and less disgruntled patients.
Generic vs. Specialized EHRs
ENT practices that utilize generic EHR systems must do more work in terms of customization in order for the system to serve their specialized purposes. Add to this the fact that the vendor will not provide any support for your specialized needs as an otolaryngologist, and you have a system that simply isn’t well suited to you. Also, you may find some things are simply non-customizable, forcing you to adjust your workflow in other ways.
Using an ENT-specific EHR means you are up and running from day one with little to no customizations required. Also, the EHR evolves with your needs as an ENT, due to the focus of the vendor.