4 steps to increasing patient engagement with EHRs

4 steps to increase patient engagement with EHRs

Electronic health records have become necessary tools to streamlining daily processes and enhancing data transfer between doctors in various medical settings. However, one of the most significant benefits of EHR systems is how effective they are at increasing patient engagement. As the country's health population continues to demand more involvement in monitoring their well-being, EHRs are playing an increasingly important role in assisting physicians in meeting these needs. 

It is essential that health professionals are using their EHRs and their patient portals to guide their patients in staying up to date with their health. There are a few steps that doctors can take to ensure that their patients are getting the most from the EHRs they have implemented. Here are a few tips to increase patient engagement through EHR systems.

1. Explain how patient portals work
Doctors have to do more than simply inform their patients that there is a portal at their disposal. Especially with older patients, if they do not know how to use the system and are not provided with instructions on how to do so, they may feel less inclined to log into the portal at home to check on their medical information. If doctors have new patients, they should introduce the system and give a brief explanation of how to log on and navigate it. This will make the portal seem more accessible and enticing to use once they are at home and want to check on their medical records or laboratory tests. 

If physicians notice that a small percentage of their patients are currently using their patient portals, they could also start asking all of their patients at the beginning of appointments whether they use the portal and, if not, provide advice on how to navigate it. 

2. Integrate mobile apps
Make viewing and inputting essential health information into the EHR system easy and convenient by integrating a mobile app. As the majority of the country's population, particularly the millennial generation, now relies heavily on smartphones to stay up to date with news and communicate, the idea of using the patient portal will become more appealing. With tools like fitness trackers available, patients almost expect that they should be able to have access to their health information while on the go. 

The ability to message their doctors from an app on their phones will also increase communication between patients and physicians. If patients feel that they can talk to their doctors outside of appointments, this will turn the traditional doctor-patient relationship into more of a team effort or professional partnership.

3. Use the extra face-to-face time
As EHR systems streamline workflows and processes, such as reviewing and inputting health data in the system, during appointments, physicians should use the extra face-to-face time they have to interact with their patients. In addition to asking them questions about their current health status, they should allow them a time to ask any questions they have. Patients should feel that their doctors want to take the time to discuss their well-being and not feel like they are nagging them when they inquire about certain health issues or concerns they are experiencing. 

4. Emphasize the importance of getting involved
After doctors have informed patients of the portal available to them and provided a short explanation of how to use it, physicians should also highlight the importance of monitoring their health. While regular checkups are essential and will help to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is key that people are up to date on their medical records and can see the results of their tests. Being better informed of this important data will also encourage patients to actively improve their health.