I knew the way we communicate with each other was changing the day I sat at the dinner table with my boys, and I realized I was staring at the tops of their heads as they were looking down at their phones. They of course were deeply involved in mission-critical texting sessions. I innocently asked them who they were texting. The answer was, “Nobody.” I fell into the trap of following up with, “About what?” The answer of course was, “Nothin’!” Yes, communication is changing, and not just in our personal lives but also in the way medical providers use technology to communicate with our patients.
For years, our profession has had the challenge of communicating medical record information easily with our patients, especially those test results. EHR technology is changing the way we communicate that information to our patients. Let’s focus on test results. I can’t count how many times I have heard a friend who recently visited their doctor go on to complain about not receiving any information regarding their test results. Test results fall into three basic categories. The first category is results that are “really bad news”. The second is test results that are extremely complicated to understand or that require a new treatment plan. The third is normal test results or test results that are abnormal but are the status quo. I think we would all agree that, for the first and second categories, a patient visit is required to explain the results and provide counseling or additional treatment if appropriate. For the third category (which represents the largest number of test results for most professionals), there is now a new method of communication: the patient portal.
HealthFusion® has created a patient portal (YourHealthFile.com) that communicates test results electronically to patients from the MediTouch EHR® system. Many times, healthcare professionals are too busy to contact each patient to let them know their results are within normal limits or are within the range of expected values based on their clinical condition. A portal is the ideal way to communicate that category of test results that used to require a phone call or a letter to the patient. In addition, now every patient has access to their results should they need to see a specialist regarding their condition.
With MediTouch® and YourHealthFile®, when the provider is reviewing the test results, they can send a patient message along with the result with just a single click so that the patient understands what the next step is. The patient can then view their test results and the patient message together on the same portal screen. What used to take providers several minutes per patient now takes just a second!
Technology is changing communication everywhere, and the communication between patient and doctor is no exception. The MediTouch® patient portal, YourHealthFile.com, facilitates patient/provider so that every patient can have a deeper understanding of their test results and medical record content.