by adgrooms on May 17, 2019

We have talked about how EHRs can benefit physicians and hospital staff by improving the quality of information and facilitating communication. One of the things severely lacking from EHRs is communication TO the patient about their care. Patients and their families want to be informed about treatments, and providers need patients to participate in their care management.

Currently, information is presented to patients and family verbally across many individuals in the health system - physicians, nurses, assistants, techs, therapists, social workers, dietitians .... There are so many people stopping by the room, talking, writing down notes, scanning medicine and IV bags, evaluating various aspects of the patients status. When family members or a patient advocate staying in the room switches out for a break, they must hand off information to someone else. If the information is not centralized and consolidated, then how accurate will the information be after several hours and possibly several handoffs?

What if EHR companies could develop a patient facing interface with all of this information accessible anytime for the patient. Not like the current clunky patient portal containing just part of the picture, it needs to be a robust, user-friendly interface with the information presented in an easy-to-read and easy-to-navigate format.

This information could include charts, prescription information, timelines, and other notes pertain to treatment and recovery of the patient, utilizing data visualization for easier understanding. Furthermore, you could have a log available to the patient and advocates in the room keeping track of who has stopped by and what action has been performed or what instruction was given at what time. This system could have an option for hospital personnel to scan in, to record their visit. It could include a manual input, to record "civilian" visitors, in case a friend or religious figure stops in. This piece would not impact the patient's health but in the interest of serving the patient, may be a nice benefit.

Patient participation is needed to help physicians and medical staff do their jobs well. An informed patient is better able to participate in their own care.