Stage 2 of the electronic health records meaningful use program emphasizes increased patient engagement, such as secure messaging with patients and giving them electronic access to their medical information. But many small provider organizations are not ready for engagement and fear messaging with patients, says Nadine Robin, health I.T. program manager at the Louisiana Healthcare Quality Forum, which operates the states regional extension center and health information exchange.
During a session at HIMSS14, Robin will explain a model the forum developed to help small and rural clinics meet meaningful use requirements for engagement. A small clinic, she notes, doesnt have an I.T. expert, a marketing person and a graphics designer. But the need remains to teach physicians how to make communications meaningful for patients. For instance, the forum offers brochures that explain to patients the benefits of EHRs and health information exchange, and cards that clinics can pass out that give five reasons to secure message with providers or three reasons to view the patient portal this month.
Providers also learn how to appropriately use communications tools to better engage patients, such as encouraging those on new medications to send a secure message in two or three weeks to let the doctor know how the medication is working and if any side effects have been noticed that would warrant a different dose or new drug. Dont get caught up in what to do to meet the regulation, but in giving value, Robin advises. Regulation has to just be the cherry on top.
The session, Roundtable 301, Patient Engagement: Its for Small Clinics, Too, will be held Monday, Feb. 24 at 11:30 a.m.
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