Patient Empowerment And Their Role In The Electronic Medical Record

Digital Platforms are Takings Steps to Increase Patient Knowledge and Engagement

(Source: Forbes) The EMR is here–at least in theory. And while many hospitals and physicians have a certified EMR, the test of the system will be the clinical engagement of all stakeholders, including patients. In particular, these are the key areas mandated in the stage two roll out in 2014. Stage 1 was the initial data acquisition and sharing and stage 3 is (the lofty expectation of) improved outcomes. But it’s stage 2 that establishes the clinical interface of the EMR with the technical and logistical aspects. And there are 4 key objectives for the stage two rollout:

  • Rigorous healthcare information exchange
  • The incorporation of e-prescribing and lab results
  • Electronic transmission of clinical information and case summaries across multiple recipients
  • Increased patient and family engagement

Now, let’s take note of the last objective–patient and family engagement. It reminds me of the illusive goal in drug therapy of compliance. The role of patient participation and compliance is no small hurdle and is often discussed in the context of simple “check list” with the expectation of full compliance. John Bachman, MD poses a simple solution in the journal Family Practice Medicine in 2007 that certainly resonates today. His suggestion: the best way to fill your EHR with patient data might be to let your patients do it themselves. Here are two companies that are empowering patients to do just that.

An instant medical history

PrimeTime Medical Software is a company that facilitates over 700,000 patient histories every day. And that astonishing number represents only 5% of the medical histories does every day in the United States. Leveraging logic and clinical information, PrimeTime Medical lets the patient engagement progress occur naturally, saving time and expanding content.

"Branching logic enables patients to progress quickly through adjustable questionnaires from an extensive medical knowledge base. Sophisticated technology enables this information to transfer to EMRs. Physician productivity increases because as much as sixty percent of the medical data necessary to complete the visit note can be provided by patients and automatically documented in medical terminology through the Internet, in exam rooms, or in waiting areas before the visit."

Adverse drug events and the “pre-Rx refill” digital interview

Beyond the office and hospital, the pharmacy represents a key area for patient engagement and improved care. RxWiki now offers a unique and streamlined digital questionnaire that can reveal health concerns prior to a drug refill.  The survey is simple, can be completed at the patient’s pace and links directly with the EMR.  The program is designed to identify adverse drug events and emerging clinical issues that may be either over, or more subtle and require additional clinical scrutiny.

Certainly, the EMR is not only here to stay, but represents a powerful tool to improve care.  And while we look to hospitals and healthcare professionals as the driver of this technology, the patient and caregiver must play a central roll for it to be a success.  And perhaps in the near future, the integration of artificial intelligence into this process will establish a new and bold interface to help move patients closer to the forefront of driving improved care.

Last Updated: February 14, 2014