The Missing Link Between Your EHR and Dissatisfied Patients
From the inception of EHR technology to the push by government for adoption through incentive programs there has been a misguided focus on technology, instead of people.
As EHR technology has advanced, most challenges have been defined as technological problems that can be solved through more advanced and better streamlined technology.
However, little has been done to solve the problem of physician and medical office staff dissatisfaction with EHR technology.
If electronic health record technology was introduced to reduce this dissatisfaction, what could be the cause of this downtrend in patient and doctor dissatisfaction? The answer lies in finding the link between the chosen EHR and staff sentiments.
Doctor’s offices depend entirely on the productivity, efficiency and goodwill of the staff that run them. These staff in turn rely heavily on the tools they have been allocated in order to deliver healthcare services to patients. One of these tools is EHR technology. Prior to the introduction of EHR technology, staff had certain workflows that they utilized to get tasks done. Those methods worked, albeit inefficiently. Fast forward to the present and your ENT practice staff have to work with an EHR to accomplish those same tasks. The problem occurs when there is a disconnect between what your staff expects of the EHR and what it actually delivers.
In many cases, when the head of a practice is sourcing for an EHR, they rarely include staff in the discovery process. They tend to rely heavily on their personal experience, as well as other marketing dynamics.
When this happens, the EHR system that is picked has not been extensively tested with the staff and there has been no emphasis on picking something the staff will work well with. Staff members are thrown into the deep end and they have to figure out – with whatever limited training is provided – how to utilize the system.
While all this is happening, patients end up suffering with increased wait times, reduced times with the doctor, missing test results and so on. Over time, your staff will become dissatisfied as they realize the technology they were told would make things better actually makes things more complicated. This frustration is often passed on to patients who also pick up these feelings.
EHR technology adoption is more a people problem than it is a technology problem. You must invest in on-boarding your staff through orientation and training. That includes adding them to the decision making process and soliciting their feedback. It’s not enough to just throw more money or smarter technology as a solution. Addressing your staff’s needs will go a long way toward having happier, more satisfied patients.