What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?
An EHR or electronic health record is the digital version of that paper chart and can do much more. Unlike the paper version, EHRs are kept up to date in real time, can only be accessed by authorized users, and makes information instantly available to a doctor or provider.
In the movies, when a doctor would come into a patient’s room to check in on them, they would look at their “chart,” which was a clipboard of medical info hanging at the end of their bed. While very dramatic when pushing a medical plot point, they are obsolete today. An EHR or electronic health record is the digital version of that paper chart and can do much more. Unlike the paper version, EHRs are kept up to date in real time, can only be accessed by authorized users, and makes information instantly available to a doctor or provider. Already you can see how an EHR is much better than a potentially out of date chart that anyone can access walking by a patient’s bed.
What are the benefits of using Electronic Health Records?
A medical clinic that uses an EHR can provide much better care to their patients. An EHR system does more than just record data collected in a visit to medical practice. It can be used to give a broader view of a patient’s health and the care they have received. When a doctor accesses a patient’s record in an EHR system, they will view a patient’s medical history. With that, they can review a patient’s medications, treatment plans, diagnoses, allergies, immunization dates, and imaging, lab, or other test results. A doctor or provider’s ability to access and update a patient’s medical information in real time will streamline a medical clinic’s workflow to an owner’s advantage. Many EHR systems also have evidence-based tools that can help doctors make decisions about patient care.
A significant advantage of using an EHR is sharing information between doctors and even health organizations. HIPPA laws require this information to be secured so only authorized people can view it. An EHR is designed to share information, but only those with authorization to view it. Compared to paper charts, this is much easier to do, and in an EHR, there is an added layer of security as they often track when information is accessed, by who, and where. Giving access to read and updating a medical chart to specialists, pharmacies, urgent care centers, therapists, and other clinics inside schools and workplaces ensures that a patient’s record is entirely kept up to date. Taking this approach often results in better patient care and satisfaction, leading to a more robust online reputation for a medical practice.
What has been the impact of EHRs (electronic health records) on patient care?
Digital technology has changed this word in ways one could not imagine 50 years ago or even 10. Communication between each other is much more accessible as access to smartphones, tablets, and other devices connected to the internet grow. Healthcare is an industry that will generate a lot of information tied to patients. The easier it is to record, update, and share this information, changes the way care is delivered. The key to this is ensuring data is kept secure and accessible to only authorized parties. Unlike high game scores or your favorite meal at a local restaurant, you do not want everyone in the world to know about your medical history. Fortunately, EHRs are built to secure and encrypt this information before it is shared with others. Studies have shown that EHRs, when used correctly and effectively at a medical clinic or health care organization, will improve:
• Overall patient care
• Patient participation in their care
• Coordination of care between doctors and other specialists
• Accuracy of diagnoses.
• Efficiency of care
• The overall cost of care by reducing waste
• Patient outcomes
What are the advantages of a medical clinic using electronic health records?
Patient care at a medical clinic is usually not inside of a bubble. A single person does not answer the phone, process intake paperwork, take initial vitals, examine a patient, make a diagnosis, and prescribe treatment. At a medical clinic, a team of people helps every single patient day in and day out. In some cases, a group of people at several medical clinics will help diagnose and treat a person’s medical issue. The ability to exchange health information electronically between these parties is a tremendous advantage. EHRs can improve the quality of care for patients and help increase their safety by reducing the likelihood of mistakes. These advantages are obvious to providers and patients and everyone involved will begin to see improvements.
EHRs allow patients’ medical records to be updated quickly, in real time, when they receive treatments or are diagnosed by a doctor. This up-to-date information is then accessible to other doctors and providers, allowing for better care coordination. A patient can often also access their medical records, allowing them to participate and feel more connected to their overall treatment. All of this information is shared securely and is encrypted for patient privacy. The sharing of a common, up to date record allows doctors to provide safer care by reducing medical errors, leading to an overall increase in effectively diagnosed patients.
Although often made light of, “doctor’s handwriting” was a problem with patient paper records. Illegible writing on critcal medical charts led to mistakes being made in treatment. It also lent itself to medication prescribing abuse. EHR’s allow for digital confirmation of treatments and prescriptions. Not only is this better treatment for patients, but it also provides billing and coding to be more accurate and streamlined. By reducing costs and mistakes, medical clinics can meet their business goals by reducing their overall operational costs. Patients can also see these savings by reducing the likelihood of duplicate testing to be conducted between different doctors. Overall, EHRs improve many various aspects of care when used correctly.
EHRs can transform healthcare and the way patients receive it.
Electronic Health Records are a fundamental shift in the healthcare industry to improve the overall care of patients. By allowing patients to access their medical information via an EHR, you can improve all aspects of their medical care. Communication between a patient and a medical clinic is more accessible, allowing for education, timely information, increased safety, and overall treatment effectiveness. EHRs have also been shown to bring more equity in terms of available treatment to a community.
The medical clinic can also use EHRs to lower health costs by communicating better health habits to their patients. This includes encouraging healthier lifestyles and nutrition. They can share important updates on local health issues so patients can lower their risks. Medical clinics can share information on preventive care to improve their health at home without having to come in and be seen by a doctor unless their ailment gets worse. Additional costs can be saved by reducing waste and redundant tests when doctors coordinate their care with each other. The sharing of information between clinics does a fantastic job of making both businesses more efficient!
What medical information does an electronic health care record contain? What are the things that are usually shared between medical clinics and accessible to patients?
While every electronic health record system is built a little differently, just about every system will have the following information:
• Name (complete)
• Contract information
• Patient demographics
• Vital signs
• Medical history
• Noted allergies
• Immunization dates
• Insurance information with billing data
• Administrative information
• Exam notes from providers
• Treatment progress notes
• Imaging (X-rays, CT Scans, etc.)
• Lab results (Blood work, STD results, etc.)
Unlike a paper chart, a digital chart is much more useful to doctors and for a patient’s care. Instead of designed to hang on the edge of a bed to be read by one doctor at a time who has to come into the room to look at it physically, it can be shared across multiple doctors and organizations. An EHR has the current medical information detailed in it and a comprehensive picture of the medical and health history of a patient. Everyone involved in the care of a patient can see the same information to coordinate care more effectively.
What is the difference between an electronic medical record (EMR) and an electronic health record (EHR?)
At first, there may not seem to be a difference between the terms “Electronic Medical Record” and “Electronic Health Record.” The words “medical” and “health” may seem interchangeable. However, there is a meaningful difference between these words that must be understood. When health records began to be digitized, the first thing that was transitioned was the paper chart that hung at the end of a patient’s bed. This became an electronic medical record, and it only dealt with the current medical treatments a patient was receiving and any other associated notes. EMRs allow providers to:
• Analyze and track medical data over time
• Monitor and schedule when patients need checkups or other preventive screenings
• Track specific medical metrics, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, oxygen levels, or blood sugar over time and evaluate it
• Use the information to improve the overall care of a patient within the setting of medical practice.
Electronic health records do all of those things and more! EMR’s originally could not easily be shared outside of medical practice. Many medical clinics used EMRs that could not communicate with each other. As a result, any medical data often had to be printed out and reentered into other medical clinic’s systems. While it made medical care efficient within a medical practice compared to older paper records, it was still rather wasteful in terms of time and cost between providers.
Electronic health records (EHRs) do everything described in EMRs, and more. The focus of an n EHR is on the total health of a patient, not just the medical treatments within a medical clinic context. EHRs are designed to take the medical information generated by a doctor’s visit and make it sharable among all providers involved in that patient’s health. This information is securely shared instantly, allowing everyone involved with care to be on the same page and up to date with a patient.
Instead of information being printed out each time a patient moves to a different provider and specialist, it moves with them. This prevents mistakes from being made and those mistakes traveling with a patient each time something is printed out and reentered into another system. Because everyone, even the patient, has access to this information in a secure setting, treatment and outcomes, improve! It makes patient care a team effort, with the patient actively participating in their care.
What are some examples of the benefits of medical practices and organizations using EHRs in treating their patients?
When all medical team members are using the same EHR, they have access to the most recent information about the patient. Even a patient’s own examination of their own medical record can be helpful. Some examples of EHR benefits include:
• An urgent care doctor reviews an EHR of a patient coming in for an illness to see they have an allergic reaction to a certain kind of medication. With this knowledge, a doctor can adjust their treatment if a patient forgets to mention a specific drug allergy.
• A patient can review their health record and look at essential health metrics and their trends over time. They can ask their doctors for additional information so they can improve their health. Access to lab test numbers can serve as great encouragement for patients to take ownership of their health.
• Recent lab results from a different doctor can tell another doctor currently treating patients the information they need to know without running another test.
• Patient’s access to lab results before talking with a doctor can allow them time to prepare a question for the doctor.
• The notes a doctor writes down for a patient during their treatment at a hospital can help shape follow up care from another provider. This can help their transition from one care setting to another be more effective with fewer hiccups.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of difference between “Electronic Medical Record” and “Electronic Health Record.” Once you know the differences and understand how EHR’s can help your medical clinic, you will want to use them. Ask the experts at PatientGain.com for assistance in implementing an EHR plan for your business. We will show how our Dashboard can be connected to your EHR so your medical website can help ensure improved care for your patients.
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How to Ask for Testimonials and Reviews From Your Patients
When you want to bring new patients to your medical practice, your online reputation is an important consideration when people research your location. When shopping around for services, people move in groups and are less likely to choose a location that has scant online reviews compared to a location that has a lot of customer feedback. You can use your online reputation to your advantage to bring in new patients, who will then leave their reviews. If approached correctly, this self-feeding loop of reviews and testimonials will give your clinic a significant marketing advantage.
How and why should I ask for reviews or testimonials?
A review or testimonial is a 1st person witness about how great of service they received at your clinic. Some of the most potent commercials on TV are ones featuring actual customers with the label “not an actor” underneath them. Let your most satisfied customers do the talking for you. They have the first-hand experience and are willing to tell others! These reviews and testimonials can be easily tacked onto your website. In most cases, they are short and to the point. They can also be used in print or email marketing materials.
Is it hard to get a review or testimonial?
If you have never formally asked for a review or testimonial in an organized fashion, it may seem like an impossible task. However, it is a lot easier than you may think. The most critical part: Asking. Still, timing is a key factor. The best moment is when your patient has been treated, and you have over delivered your service to them, leaving a patient feeling better, informed, and confident about their health.
How do I ask for a review on a site like Google, Facebook, or Yelp?
Reviews on these websites are often some of the first things a new patient will see when considering your clinic for your services. However, this is also where unhappy patients will leave their feedback, regardless if it is a valid critique of your business. Don’t let a single bad review make you sigh away from this powerful marketing tool. Patients widely recognize today that every business, be it a medical clinic, auto repair, or a pretzel stand will get bad reviews every now and again. The key is to build a vast repository of good reviews. All you need to do is ask.
To get as many reviews as possible, you need to make the process as easy as possible. The fewer clicks a patient has to do, the more likely they will follow through and leave you that review. No one wants to spend 5 minutes detailing their visit. You want to make it easy for someone to leave five stars, say a few words, and be on their way with the option to leave more detailed feedback if they choose.
Why does a patient leave me a negative review?
When a patient leaves a negative review of your medical clinic, more often than not, it has nothing to do with your doctor. In fact, studies indicate only about 28% of negative reviews are related to a patient’s interaction with a doctor. The other 72% often deal with billing issues, incorrect deductible payment, wait time, problems with a front desk worker or other staff, or improper handling of paperwork.
Patients will leave your medical clinic either happy, unhappy, or somewhere in the middle. With some focus on your end and combined with our excellent software, you can build a winning marketing strategy leveraging your patient’s experience. Unhappy and disgruntled patients leaving negative reviews can destroy a doctor and a clinic’s reputation. Proactively addressing problems, whether real or perceived, is the strategy you should adopt to protect your business.
How can I get positive reviews for my clinic?
The lobby of your facility isn’t just a place for a patient to wait to be seen by a doctor. It is a GOLD MINE for reviews for your business. Putting a little work into a patient’s departure can harvest great reviews from happy patients on their way out the door. Our reputation app works on iPads and is user-friendly. Once implemented, this easy to use app will start producing results in the first week at most clinics.
Your reputation on Google is, by far the single most crucial marketing strategy you should implement. While Facebook and Yelp are essential to keep in mind, a vast majority of people will start with Google first. Google Search produces excellent results for healthcare clinics, and within those results, the number of reviews is a powerful visual for potential patients.
What is the best strategy to get reviews or testimonials from patients? Should I use texted(SMS) based, email, or ask for them in my waiting room?
The truth is, you should adopt all of these strategies. Using only one approach can cause reviews to be flagged. For example, if you send out a mass email or text(SMS) asking for reviews, you will get a “burst” of reviews to your profiles. Text-based review requests often only produce a rating without any comments. The algorithms in these review sites will start blocking these reviews. By adopting all of these strategies, it will send a varying amount of reviews of different length and times throughout the week to your profile.
How do I get positive reviews for doctors at my clinic?
Ideally, the level of attention and quality of medical care should be enough to get patients to leave a positive review or testimonial. In reality, most patients need to be gently encouraged to leave feedback, which is why a strategy to acquire these reviews is vital for a medical practice. You should have a plan in place to maximize positive reviews and minimize negative reviews.
What review sites should I concentrate on?
At PatientGain.com, we’ve found our healthcare customers have had great success by focusing on Google and Yelp. You should expect an 80/20 ratio for reviews from these two sites. 80% or more of your reviews will come from Google, and the rest will likely come from Yelp. There are other healthcare centric review sites out there and should be kept in mind for your online strategy, but they are not as important as these two review sites.
How can I learn more about reviews, testimonials, and how to acquire them at my medical practice?
PatientGain.com has spent years working with a variety of healthcare clients in many different fields of medicine. Our powerful software has produced excellent results across the country. Make an appointment today to speak with our experts today and let us show you the difference PatientGain.com can make at your clinic.
PatientGain.com is a proven dental and medical marketing solution, includes apps, websites, SEO, HIPAA compliance and account management.
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