Provider Resources

4 Ways EHRs Strengthen the Provider-Patient Relationship

Doctor-patient relationship in action

They’re not just digital filing cabinets, electronic health records (EHRs) are a trusted tool and can help providers build and maintain a good rapport with patients.

With healthcare systems nationwide experiencing relentless pressures, the last thing medicine needs is tension between providers and patients. But the last thing providers need is more administrative tasks that only add complexity to their workflows. That’s why electronic health records (EHRs) conjure mixed emotions – they help patients and providers stay on top of care, but providers sometimes regard them as an added layer of administrative labor. The challenge lies in finding an EHR platform that appeases both patients and providers and strengthens their relationship. 

The provider-patient relationship is not only essential to the patient experience, it also affects outcomes. A Study in the Annals of Family Medicine found that better provider-patient relationships were associated with improved functional health, so it’s valuable to explore ways to build trust and communication. EHRs offer many benefits to the provider-patient relationship, but here are four of the most notable:

1. EHRs increase transparency without compromising security

Typically during consults, doctors stand behind a computer screen and the patient stays on the other side. But patients get frustrated when they don’t have a sense of what the provider is looking at. Although this dynamic has long been accepted, research shows physician screen use during consults is associated with lower patient satisfaction.

Patient-facing EHR platforms, however, are designed to lift the veil off medical records. Clinicians not only share their screens, but give patients access to their records outside of the clinic. With EHRs, patients can easily monitor their results and treatments and have greater involvement in their care. They’re also happier, with 85% of patients citing improved healthcare experience, according to PocketHealth’s recent Patient Pulse Report.

Of course these can only be achieved if the platform is secure and HIPPA compliant. PocketHealth recognizes that security is a paramount concern, for both patients and providers. Which is why the platform offers bank-level encryption while maintaining portability – essential factors when building clinical relationships.

2. EHRs improve patient engagement

Not all EHRs are created equal. Some platforms have greater administrative demands on healthcare providers, which can deplete their capacity to deliver care. But patient-centered EHRs are different. By giving patients the power to share their own records, rather than restricting those capabilities to providers, clinic staff don’t have to expand their workflow and patients feel informed and empowered through accessing their records. It’s demonstrated in the Patient Pulse Report, where nearly half of patients said they felt they had more control when they had access to their records.

When patients are responsible for sharing their own records, they’re actively involved in their care and in turn, more engaged. Informed and engaged patients benefit everyone – they ask meaningful questions during consults and improve their own outcomes by doing everything they can to stay on top of their care.

3. EHRs can and should prevent burnout, not cause it.

A recent study linked EHR activity logs to physician burnout – a strong indicator that platform designers need to be mindful of the number of “clicks” they’re adding to a clinician’s tech stack. That’s why many clinics seek out patient-centered EHR platforms. These not only give patients greater control and access to their records, they minimize clicks providers would typically be responsible for. Platforms like PocketHealth give patients the freedom to access and share their imaging with providers across networks, giving them agency and maintaining their continuity of care.

4. EHRs reduce friction between patients and providers

Responding to patients via email and phone makes it hard to cohesively track conversations. It causes them to wonder if their physician received or even forgot about their message. Centralizing patient communication in an EHR is not only a more organized approach, but it can help manage expectations. For example, implementing a 48-hour response policy for messages sent over EHRs minimizes follow-up calls and gets patients answers faster. 

For imaging records, burning CDs that patients have to physically pick-up and drop-off at clinics is another source of friction that platforms like PocketHealth address. In general, keeping everything in one digital place reduces the risk of losing records and miscommunications that can lead to patients falling through the cracks and the serious repercussions that can entail.

The Benefits of PocketHealth

PocketHealth is designed to alleviate strain on both patients and providers. Patients can quickly and easily share imaging records with anyone, including out-of-network providers, friends and family. At the same time, PocketHealth connects to imaging PACS so providers can seamlessly upload imaging reports, making them available for patients to access. PocketHealth is a no network platform, making implementation simple and avoiding adding steps to imaging workflows. It’s why PocketHealth counts the ‘clicks’ required for radiology staff and offers providers seamless ways to integrate our platform with existing technologies and EHRs.

Relationships are built on a range of factors, all of which are affected by today’s healthcare challenges. IT staff critically evaluate any new EHR before implementing and ask: does it help or hurt clinicians? and does it improve the patient experience? If it doesn’t benefit both, it may undermine the nuanced provider-patient relationship. But if both factors can be achieved, patients will appreciate the autonomy and visibility into their health, while providers can simplify processes that once put a strain on their practice, their workflow and themselves.

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To learn more about PocketHealth and patient-centered no network EHRs platform, contact us to request a demo.