Most of the certified EHRs/EMRs have helped improve the basic need of preventive health for women and men. Such as making sure mammograms, prostate screenings, cholesterol, diabetes testing and bone density testing is more on time, because they are typically performed on a scheduled basis or annually (based on age and risk factors).
EHRs/EMRs have helped to increase notifications/awareness as to where it affects (increases) participation from the physician to the staff to the patient, having consulted with a Family Practice clinic and helped them set up the functionality of the alerts in the EHR/EMR, gives clear understanding that it works if you work it.
Now, they are able to send an e-mail to that patient from the physician with a link in the email to the online health system they are using. The patient can then access that message; physicians are given information as to the last exam date and when they are coming due for another. There is also the capability to send a request for an appointment online or have the option of calling.
Prior to that, they were still using the old paper tickler system and having to review on a weekly basis. They used an outdated way of contacting the patients; they would send a letter or call on the phone. Using a letter is great if it can be auto generated from your system. If not then you will have to pay someone to type that letter, and address it (more than likely by hand). You might as well be using a carrier pigeon or smoke singles.
With the robust abilities of the individual EHRs/EMRs you should be able to have your system write the letter pull in the appropriate test results or exam needed and add the patients address to that letter. Then you would only need a window envelope.
I know you’re thinking, really who still address patient letters with all the technology at our fingertips. There are many offices still practicing this way and not taking advantage of the abilities of the EHR/EMR they have purchased. So it’s not just the job of the EMR to track all the measures as set forth from meaningful use, it can be so much more.
With a completely different EMR from the Family Practice clinic mentioned above, we had the opportunity to talk with an OB/GYN office and they were very excited to share with us the great ways the EHR/EMR they had purchased made not only their life easier, it also made their patients much happier.
When asked how they were utilizing there EHR/EMR, they informed that they set up a very simple rule to notify them when a patient was due for an exam a month before it was due. With that information being auto populated to the front desk, the front office was able to generate an auto e-mail to the patient. The patients came into the OB’s office talking about how they were able to use the “CLOUD” for helping coordinate their medical care. One person in particular thought this was great since they were on vacation and would have been late getting their annual exam had they been sent a letter (carrier pigeon).
So basically the right use of your EHR/EMR system can help with these exams now being completed in a timely manner. With your EHR/EMR you should be able to set up a form of an indicator for flagging family history or giving you an alert. Electronic medical records that have been set up and utilized correctly have assisted in alerting and promoted better preventative care, for both women and men.