As great as technology can be for helping us stay organized and productive, it can also be a distraction. In a healthcare setting, doctors often have to log their patients’ clinical information from behind a computer screen. While recording patient data is important for tracking health improvements and eventually submitting measurements for MACRA, it shouldn’t take precedent over communication with patients. After all, without proper dialogue, care providers may be missing details, or even getting the wrong ones.
How, then, can doctors simultaneously collect the information they need without ignoring their patients? The answer lies with mobile EHR apps.
Eliminate the Screen Barrier
The portability of mobile EHR apps means that physicians can step away from screens and look at their patients more often. Eye contact is almost universally considered an important piece of effective communication. Knowing that patients also view listening as a top factor when defining quality care, it’s safe to say that mobile devices are a more welcome solution in exam rooms than laptop or desktop computers.
Doctors may also find that the ability to sit closer and gesture to their patients enhances communication. While behind a desk or seated at a counter with a computer, it’s difficult to illustrate a point for the patient. Gesturing is especially important for pediatric physicians, as young often rely on visuals over verbal comprehension.
Engage with Your Patient
When providers are typing away in their EHR, the actual details are somewhat of a mystery to the patient. They’re the most important person in the exam room, and yet there’s no transparency into their own records.
With a mobile EHR app, doctors can involve the patient in a couple of ways. One way would be to leverage the speech-to-text capability of the app. Patients can overhear the notes being added to their record, which may prompt them to ask questions and participate in self-management. Recording notes in this way can also present patients with an opportunity to correct any errors or add more detail, thereby informing the provider to make the best decisions for their care.
Using a mobile EHR app also gives the physician an opportunity to engage the patient in education activities. Pulling up reference materials and subsequently showing them to the patient may be difficult on a desktop or laptop computer. With a smartphone or tablet, the provider can easily hand the device off or navigate and show resources to the patient. It also makes it easier to demonstrate proper use of healthcare apps, such as a blood sugar tracker. This can can contribute to compliance with such applications if they’re incorporated into the patient’s care plan, as well.
Encourage Satisfaction & Loyalty
Mobile EHR apps rely on the underlying EHR system’s appointment setting and scheduling software, but they’re much easier to use. Practice reception staff can perform patient registration and appointment setting faster, giving patients a more pleasant front desk experience. Communication with patients even goes beyond the practice doors, too. When setting an appointment, app users can set up automatic appointment reminders or satisfaction surveys to get sent directly to the patient.
Improved patient engagement is a big part of why mobile EHR apps are being widely implemented by healthcare practices, but there are more reasons to go mobile. We took a deep dive into the emergence of mobile technology in healthcare in the downloadable Ultimate Guide to Mobile in Healthcare. Get a copy for yourself to learn how mobile can enable your own healthcare staff and improve your bottom line.