With the development of virtual EHR platforms, the care of patients has never been more complex. Today’s EHR integrators at healthcare facilities face the challenge of keeping up with numerous pieces of technology while ensuring patient deliverables are uninterrupted, aiming for a frictionless experience for your patient community. The best way to handle this challenge is by figuring out how these technologies can improve your patient’s experience during their stay in your facility and also focusing your energy on pressing issues as they arise.
In the last decade, most large hospitals and physicians have adopted electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs) as a way to improve care and reduce costs. However, EHRs can be expensive and time-consuming for program managers, physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers to use. They are not always easy to customize for the needs of a specific practice or hospital. And they often do not share information easily with other EHR systems. These challenges may limit the potential benefits of EHRs for hospitals, clinicians and patients.
One way to ensure your technologies are helping rather than hindering your patient’s experience is with patient satisfaction surveys. And while it can be overwhelming when you have too many tools that don’t connect to one another and make your job much harder instead of easier, patient satisfaction surveys are simple to deploy.
Read more to learn how easy it can be to improve patient outcomes with patient satisfaction surveys.
Electronic health record use is increasing
In 2005, fewer than 10 percent of office-based physicians used a basic electronic health record system that met minimal standards for functionality. By 2015, 71 percent of physicians reported using an electronic health record system that met those standards. Hospitals were about as likely as physician offices to use an electronic health record system that met these standards in 2005 and 2015.
While EHR systems are now standard for most healthcare systems, they’ve brought with them unique problems. First, they interrupt patient encounters by forcing healthcare professionals to stop typing notes into a computer. Studies show that many doctors spend two hours on the computer for every hour spent with patients. This is not how physicians imagined practicing medicine, and it’s not what they signed up for when they went to medical school.
Second, EHRs are designed by software engineers without any input from physicians or patients. This can lead to unintuitive design and confusing user interfaces and make them harder to use than they should be.
Third, the amount of time spent on documentation can lead to burnout among clinicians at a time when we’re facing staffing shortages. Even before the pandemic, many doctors were feeling burned out, and nearly half would not recommend pursuing a career in medicine. With the added pressures of COVID-19, some are retiring early, navigating burnout and leaving practice altogether.
Fourth, EHRs are very expensive to buy and maintain; one study showed that over half of all EHR implementations cost more than $2 million. They’re a huge investment, and you’re wasting money if you aren’t making the most out of them.
Using all the tools in your EHR’s arsenal
One of the most important things you can do for your healthcare facility is solicit patient feedback. Feedback allows you to gauge how effective your physicians and staff are, can help you improve your patient service, improve your HCAHPS scores, and increase revenue. However, it’s not always easy to get patients to respond (or even fill out a survey). After all, who has time to fill out surveys?
Notivate Health can help you get your patient satisfaction surveys out quickly and easily and return results to you fast enough that you can act on them, reducing patient readmission. We make it easy to meet your accreditation and compliance requirements by providing the tools needed to set up custom notifications and ensure the right people see your results at the right time.
Not only is it essential that you communicate with your patients after their appointments, but you should also do it in a timely fashion, within one to two days of service delivery. The patient will not remember what the experience was like six months ago, but they will remember it from two days ago. The most common time frame is 24 hours after discharge, but studies show that if you wait much more than two days, the scores start to change as the patient forgets what happened. Patient dissatisfaction can be contagious, and if you don’t know about it and address it quickly, it can spread throughout your organization.
Integrating Communication Strategies Into Your EHR Can Be Easy
Integrating your EHR system into your organization is one of the most important decisions you’ve made for your facility. A majority of hospitals and other healthcare systems today have implemented an electronic health records system (EHR) and, for many, this has meant increased practice efficiency and improved patient care. For others, the challenges of EHRs are too significant.
If you’ve made a substantial investment in EHR technology but feel you’re still missing the capability to communicate with your audience with automated appointment reminders and post-discharge surveys, we can help. Notivate Health takes care of reaching your patients, so your practitioners can focus on what matters most: treating patients.
Integrating additional software into your EHR can seem like a daunting task. You may dread having to log in to multiple applications or having to invest in yet another system that has to be installed on your network or hosted somewhere else. You may wonder if adding another piece of software will break your current workflow or if it’s even worth the effort to get it up and running.
But here’s the good news: With today’s communication technologies and the way they have evolved, it is easy to add effective patient satisfaction survey dissemination tools into your practice! Some cloud-based systems have low data transfer requirements but deliver high impact. And full-service companies, like Notivate Health, who have integrated dozens of systems with EHR platforms like Epic and Cerner, understand the pain points faced by program managers and can help the process go smoothly.
We Make It Easy to Communicate With Your Patient Base
It’s no secret that the healthcare industry is facing a staffing shortage. With fewer people to do more work, it’s easy for tasks to slip through the cracks: patient phone calls and messages, post-discharge surveys, lab results, prescription refills, and more.
One way to help bridge this gap is implementing an EHR platform that helps streamline workflow and communication across the office. While EHRs can be expensive and hard to use at first, they help improve operational efficiency. But to get the most out of your investment in an EHR system, you’ll need to make sure you’re utilizing all of its features.
For example, many doctors use EHRs only for tracking patient visits. But many EHR systems contain other tools that allow you to manage back-office functions like accounting and practice management from within the same software. While these features are great to have, not all of them can be used effectively at once due to time constraints or lack of training. If you have ever tried using multiple platforms at once, you probably know this. It can be overwhelming when you have too many tools that don’t connect to one another and make your job much harder instead of easier.
Why focus on integrating with existing systems? Because you already have a system, it likely has many features you need. Notivate doesn’t replace what you have — we augment it with data science and the most innovative communication tool on the market. Notivate makes it easy to send HIPAA-compliant SMS text message reminders and patient satisfaction surveys with data straight out of your EHR system, returning actionable data and easily-readable results in almost real-time.
By leveraging two-way communication, you’ll ultimately see improvements in patient satisfaction scores. No matter how sophisticated a system you work with, you’re not seeing the complete picture of your healthcare facility if there isn’t a way for you to examine your patients’ short and long-term experience. There is more to communication than just appointments.
Reach out today to learn more about how we help your hospital deliver patient satisfaction surveys and get the most out of your EHR platform.
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Photo by Kev Costello on Unsplash