The healthcare industry has made several technology changes in past years in order to provide a better care experience for patients and their families. In fact, physicians, legislators, healthcare administrators and patient advocates have all been working together over the years to make the healthcare system more effective and efficient. This has involved rethinking care delivery methods, implementing new technologies, and even introducing controversial policies. In the case of electronic health records, it seems the hard work is paying off.
Innovative solutions like PrognoCIS EHR are helping improve the healthcare experience for millions of Americans, meanwhile increasing productivity and reducing both clinical and administrative costs. By law, patients are guaranteed certain rights regarding their medical care. See how using Electronic Health Record (EHR) software contributes to providing the following four rights:
1. The right to be treated confidentially.
Though there isn’t an official “Bill of Patient’s Rights” to declare that patient privacy is fundamental in healthcare, the HIPAA Privacy Rule has this covered by providing federal protections for patients with regards to their medical information. EHR software goes one step further by doing something paper charts can’t do: it guarantees that only individuals involved in a patient’s care are given access to that patient’s records. After all, while anyone can open a paper chart and view details of a patient’s medical history – from a file clerk or receptionist to a nurse or other physician – with EHR software, password-protection and other safeguards ensure that only authorized users have access to confidential patient data.
2. The right to have full access to their health records.
There are laws in the United States that give patients the right to see and get copies of their health records. However, the process for getting access to these records can be complicated, time-consuming and sometimes costly. With new regulations, such as those outlined in the EHR Incentive Programs, getting access to health information is easier than ever. Physicians using PrognoCIS can easily print care summaries, email them to patients, or even make them available online via a patient portal integrated with the EHR system. Patients can even submit requests to make changes to their health record if they find information that isn’t accurate.
3. The right to receive information about their medical condition.
Though patients often trust their caregivers to make medical decisions for them, it is still important for patients to be informed about their condition. This includes physicians providing information about potential treatments, including possible risks and potential benefits. Through the use of EHR software, it is becoming easier for physicians to make this kind information available to patients. In fact, many EHR systems, including PrognoCIS, have built-in patient education resources which can be easily emailed or printed out to share with patients.
4. The right to continuity of care.
Coordinated care efforts are necessary to ensure that patient care is comprehensive and ongoing and that medical needs are being adequately met. However, sharing patient health records with other caregivers hasn’t always been easy. In fact, for many years, patient care has tended to be fragmented, with doctors knowing little to nothing about measures being taken by other healthcare professionals to treat mutual patients. With EHR software, this is rapidly changing. PrognoCIS makes it easy for doctors to connect with other physicians who are involved in the same patient’s care, in order to exchange medical data quickly, securely and electronically. The referring physician portal allows multiple providers to be in the loop about conditions their patients are being treated for by other doctors, in addition to medications the patient is taking and tests they have undergone – all of which can affect a patient’s final treatment outcome.
Patient Rights in an Evolving Medical Software Environment
As EMR software evolves, the physicians and patients using it will continue requesting new features to push the bounds of interoperability. Access to information of a variety of new devices – whether wearable technology or in ways we have yet to imagine – will continue to offer software companies the opportunity to differentiate their products in terms of ease of use, time to market, and portability of data. The core concepts of patient rights with regard to their data needs to remain forefront as technology evolves. Let us not gauge the success of a product update by the colors and buttons alone, the number of clicks, or the subscription cost; but in how each feature retains patient rights as a foremost concern that is worthy of the sometimes required additional steps a provider might need to take in order to facilitate these new features. Granular controls of data access may be seen as a foregone conclusion to connecting to a new interface, but the patient will remain the gating factor in many of these situations. The software community will continue working diligently to create the best compromises of trade-offs in buttons and screens, but the rights of the patient persist as we all strive to attain the benefits from digitized healthcare.