How to simplify your practice and focus on patient care

How to simplify your practice and focus on patient care

Even when your personal focus is on your patients, it can be hard to get around the paperwork and actually target patient needs. Administrative work needs to be done, and there often isn't enough time to complete the necessary tasks and give your undivided attention to the patients. The balance between these two aspects is never going to be perfect, but there are ways you can improve outcomes.

Finding a software solution
If you're still using physical media to record patient data, the No. 1 thing you can do to improve your focus on patients is to invest in a software solution. An EHR system can eliminate a good amount of administrative headaches. But you need to find the right solution for your practice. Many EHR vendors are focused on large health care organizations like hospitals – while they're probably good systems, they're often too bulky for smaller practices. The data you'll need can easily get lost in an overly complicated system. It's better to do a little research and find a solution that fits your specific needs.

Understanding ICD-10
An often-frustrating aspect of medical administrative work is dealing with ICD-10 codes. This is the internationally recognized system for defining ailments, injuries and diseases. It's important to document the correct codes when treating patients, especially if they could transfer to another care facility. EHR interoperability is extremely important in modern medical practice – the days of faxing documents are quickly going away. With a modern EHR system, authorized personnel should have nearly immediate access to the appropriate information. ICD-10 codes are just one piece of vital data that travels through these systems.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, ICD-10 implementation is required by everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Because no one person could possibly memorize the thousands of codes, it's critical to have a software solution that is easily searchable. Many practices will have common codes that are used almost every day, but there will always be some cases that require a little extra work. Having a digital platform that can do most of the work for you means you get to spend more time with patients and less time clicking through screens on the computer.

Patient-focused care is important
Once you have an EHR solution that works for your practice, you can better focus on your patients and improve outcomes. A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that patient-focused care not only improves health outcomes and patient satisfaction, it can even improve adherence to medical advice given during a consultation. This in turn can mean better patient retention and a decrease in litigation.

In essence, everyone wins when patients are the focus of health care. It is as much a matter of mindfulness during consultation as it is having the right tools for the job. With an EHR system that improves workflow, nurses and doctors will have time to listen to their patients' needs and provide a better quality of health care.