Recently, we did an audit and it was shocking to learn that with our two-physician practice, we are utilizing more than 20,000 sheets of pages every month. I would encourage all readers to do the same and I guarantee you will be surprised.
What a colossal waste of time and energy, and it creates a severe distraction for us and the question is, why have we accepted this responsibility? Time has come to change this practice.
In today's world of Facebook, emails, Twitter, and so on, most Americans are used to electronic gadgets and, in fact, they love it. Americans are used to managing complex bank accounts, paying bills and handling many of their financial affairs electronically. It would be naïve to believe that they cannot handle the simple task of controlling their own medical records. I would venture to say that this may be far more efficient in terms of privacy and preventing data breaches.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: 2017 EHR Report Card results
Let me propose this scenario: A patient walks into my clinic and I would be happy to provide him a laptop with an internet connection. The patient can log into his or her electronic record and grant a clinician access when he/she arrives. The physician can open up a blank page and enter the notes and at the end of the visit, save a copy to the patient’s file and send one copy to his/her system.
In certain circumstances, the document can be left open for 48 hours or so for the clinician to complete the note. I have discussed this with a number of software engineers and have been told that this is achievable with today’s technology and would maintain the security of the record with tamperproof mechanisms. This would protect both patient and clinician much more efficiently without the harassment of HIPPA.
Suddenly, we can get rid of our electronic health records, copy machines and save a tremendous amount of staff time. Thousands of dollars would be saved along with thousands of trees, which would be a music to the environmentalist’s ears.
FURTHER READING: Five ways to reduce heathcare administrative costs
No consulting office, emergency room or hospital will have to call us anymore, since they can obtain all this information from the patient. When we order our tests such as CT scan, MRI, or if we prescribe any medications, the controlling authorities can look into the patient record for their approval process. No need to bother us anymore for any prior authorization and let us be doctors focused with patient care. I can imagine my office being a lean, mean machine with 100% dedication toward patient care. Would this not be a dream?
I certainly think that this is an achievable goal if we, as physicians, demand such change with a single voice.