US based medical transcription companies have always strived to meet the needs of physicians and continue to do so even with the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs). While digital patient records offer benefits such as improved patient care, safety, efficiency, education, and timeliness, one common complaint is that they have affected the patient encounter. Managing data entry in the EHR and pursuing quality metrics and other matters leave physicians with little time for their patients. In their 2016 Physician Writing Contest, Medical Economics asked readers how they are tackling the challenges of present-day distractions to provide quality care for their patients. Here are some pearls from the prize winners of the contest.
- Prepare for the appointment: Physicians can make each visit more productive by preparing ahead of the consultation. Office staff should call up patients and make sure that they have the necessary tests one week before the visit. This will also help avoid no-shows. Demographic information checks and insurance verification should also be done before the consult, which will save time and enhance patient satisfaction, while improving collections.
- Pre-chart: Based on the complexity of the patient, physicians should spend some time before the visit to assess how his or her condition has changed since the last visit. Reviewing lab-related data a day or two before the consultation will allow the physician spend more quality time with the patient instead of looking at the computer screen.
- Build a patient-focused environment: Practice staff should be trained to use the EHR, so that they can communicate with each other before or after the patient visit. This will make each consultation more patient-focused.
- Face the patient: The physician should focus on facing the patient and maintaining eye contact. The computer should be placed in such a way that physicians can directly see their patients. When serious matters are being discussed, the provider should stop typing and look at the patient. This will make the patient feel comfortable and acknowledged.
- Educate the patient: A physician’s time is valuable. The physician’s team should educate patients on how to make the most of the time spent at the consultation. Matters related to insurance and payments should be discussed outside of the exam room, which will leave more time for medical issues at the consult.
Even as they build patient engagement and provide quality care, physicians must actively use their EHRs to create legible and organized records with clinical information about individual patients. Partnering with an established medical transcription company would help healthcare providers use their EHR better. EHR-integrated medical transcription services ensure accurate and timely history and physical reports, consultation records, operative reports, lab and imaging reports, clinical notes and discharge summaries. The support of a reliable company can prove invaluable for physicians as they work towards their goal of improving the quality and safety of healthcare in the EHR age.