EMR & Patient Safety, Meaningful EHR Measures, and the Patient Portal “Switch”

What an important topic of discussion. In fact, it makes me want to look at writing a whole series of articles on the patient safety issues using an EMR and also the patient safety issues of not using an EMR. Much of it I’ll be covering in my EHR benefits series, but quite a different angle. Although, the ethics side of it could be really interested. I’m glad Dr. Wes is starting this discussion.

I keep wishing it was interoperability, but I do think we could go way too far when it comes to adding more measures and end up with measures that provide little to no value if we’re not careful.

I love that people think that implementing a patient portal is as easy as flipping a switch. I can have a full EMR at my fingertips in 2 minutes by signing up at one of the Free EHR, but that misses so many important parts of implementing an EMR. The same goes for a portal. It takes a little more thought to implement a patient portal than just flipping a switch.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • Flipping a switch to turn on a patient portal? That begs the question; what does it take. Assuming that the EHR has one available, and that it is cloud based, it would be easy to assume that you just have to turn on a switch. But I can think of some added work needed;

    1. Train staff in what the portal does, and how to respond to various types of patient questions. Staff have to understand it well enough to have a reason to encourage patients to use it, and they need to respond to patients who communicate over it.
    2. Train someone to administer the portal.
    3. Test the portal before a full roll out.

    Of course, there are the separate issues; do you have to contract for the portal (MU not withstanding), does it have to be ‘installed’, do you need extra hardware for it, do you have to decide which aspects of it should work? Are there background issues, such as a problem with lab integration?

    While I suspect I’m only scratching the surface here, this should be a high priority for any practice.

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