Over the years the role and tasks of doctors has changed. Rather than focusing their efforts on treating people and helping them get better, doctors often times find themselves filling out insurance forms, completing paper work, updating patient records, searching for patient history and trying to meet visit quotas. Moreover, they find themselves "treating the charts" more so than the patient; meaning that they are so occupied with proper charting that they spend more time double checking and transcribing information than they do actually listening to the patient. However, with improved systems of technology, these important, but distracting tasks are minimized allowing the doctor to be more attentive to the patient's needs and questions.
With the emergence of Health Information Technology (HIT) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs), doctors are able to implement workflows to help them accomplish the tasks of capturing and entering information quicker and more efficiently during patient visits. What is important is the quality of the workflow and applications supporting it. As we heard from our recent webcast speakers, "if workflow is well designed, treating the patient and treating the chart can be accomplished simultaneously" (American College of Cardiology), thus providing better care during visits. A quality workflow is characterized by the ability to continuously optimize and improve the process, which requires the backend support of a Business Process Management Suite (BPMS).
"Typically, the average follow-up patient visit in the office is 15 minutes. With the use of health information technology healthcare providers have reduced transcription time significantly, freeing up an extra 2 to 3 minutes per patient, which allows for greater depth of physician-patient interaction during the office visit" (American College of Cardiology). Additionally, EHRs provide doctors the ability to review patient history and answer questions about previous treatments and conditions quickly and efficiently. But EHR's alone aren't enough to solve the problems encompassed by a hospital or practice, the entire system needs to be addressed. Enhanced system interaction will aid in both the care of the patient and the doctor's ability to do their job.
By implementing the right applications and creating a strong infrastructure that is supported by a quality Business Process Management Suite (BPMS), the point of care has been transformed to allow doctors to spend more time doing what they do best- treating patients.
What are your current challenges in implementing a Health IT solution?
Mary Katherine Strupe