Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Improving Service with Electronic Health Record Implementation

Improving Service with Electronic Health Record Implementation

improving-service-with-electronic-health-record-implementation- image0Texas Tech Physicians has done a great job with its Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation.  It has not been without travail and we still have some bruises to show for it—but they are healing nicely. I thank Dr. Craig Bradley, Tom Wise and others for the work that has been done.  We have met every major meaningful use milestone and that is significant.

Early on with the implementation and still today, we occasionally hear that the EHR interferes with patient communication. It is said that use of EHR prevents eye contact with patients (due to having to look at the computer screen) and that typing and clicking distract from patient care. I understand and can see how that is possible, but I think it can be managed, in most cases.

The following are some suggestions I have read and come up with myself on how to make the experience better for patient and provider:

Verbalize what you are doing on the computer. Tell the patient what is going on
  • Use data from electronic information to let the patient know that you know them
  • Ask the patient’s permission to type notes as you talk—emphasis that it is for accuracy sake
  • Share data and invite the patient to view information on screen
  • Use the information on the screen as an opportunity to share decisions with the patient
  • Use the computer as a tool to be on the same page with the patient regarding their care
  • Explain the patient portal and that the patient can have access to certain computer information.  Encourage the patient to sign up for the patient portal!
  • Mention the safety factor and that we want to get it right

Patients want to perceive that their care provider is comfortable with the computer and that it is one more tool, like a stethoscope. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, I add that comments such as “I’d like to ring the neck of the person who put this computer in here” are not really that helpful. Have a good week!