Why Improving Patient Experience is Vital to EMR Rollout
EMR (Electronic Medical Records) is the not-so-new acronym that has the focus of public, private and not-for-profit Hospitals Australia-wide.
Hospitals have allocated vast amounts of funds to EMR ensuring the most up-to-date and accurate information on patients is all in one place. EMR will certainly improve communication among doctors, nurses and the rest of a patient’s treatment team so they can deliver even safer, more efficient care.
All of this will no doubt translate to a better experience for patients and staff, which for us at Five Faces Health is great news. Enhancing patient, staff and visitor experience along with efficiency is at the core of everything we do. Therefore, we see the EMR rollout and further enhancing the healthcare experience through digital solutions as going together.
The argument EMR will on its own improve patient experience is a flawed one. Sure, it may be beneficial if you can securely bring up medical records on your phone with real-time test results. However, is this what I as a patient need during a trip to a hospital – be it for maternity, emergency or beyond? Or is EMR an amazing innovative feat, but perhaps not so obvious in the patient journey?
If I was to think about my healthcare experiences – what is important to me is feeling reassured and prepared throughout the journey. I want to be able to connect and easily ask clinical staff questions like: “Do I need to fast or can I still have some water before my procedure or appointment?” It would be even better if my care team could connect, reassure and remind me about such information leading up to my visit. What is important to me is calmly finding a parking spot and then my way from this carpark to the facility without getting lost, being late or having to ask numerous people for directions. It’s checking in for an appointment easily either beforehand or when I arrive. To me, part of an optimal healthcare experience is knowing how long I’ll have to wait for my appointment because the clinicians are running late. While I’m waiting, it’s learning about other services I didn’t know about but may be of interest or receiving an SMS when it’s nearly my time to see the doctor. All of this happens before I even get to the bedside.
Once recuperating in a hospital bed, lounge or waiting area, it isn’t just TV I want to watch. I’d like to interact with my digital world and loved ones. Sure, accessing my EMR could be beneficial but so would access to information about my condition through videos or brochures, which I could send to myself electronically to review later. Not only would this suit me better, but it would translate to saving in print costs for the hospital and be better for the environment. What’s important to me is how easily I can contact my nurse and even how often the doctor graces me with his or her presence. Of course, the food I eat when I’m in a hospital is also important. I’d like to know what food is available specifically for my needs and perhaps even choose from a few options.
When I finally leave the hospital, I’m going to want to stay connected with my care team to reduce complications and my chance of a readmission. But firstly, where is the car again?
While EMR is great, there is an entire patient and visitor journey through the hospital to also consider. Improving the bottlenecks that hinder a patient’s healthcare experience can be solved at far less cost than an EMR system and certainly far quicker. They’re solutions that can also improve the efficiency of your staff, so they have more time to dedicate to clinical care and even other tasks including the EMR rollout. So, should EMR stop all progress? Or should the patient journey and experience remain a priority? To us, the answer is a simple one.