/>
X
Business

How to create patient buy-in for health IT

How can a clinic make change happen? As Ralston says, by putting themselves in their customer's shoes. But also by first automating the specific services patients use most.
Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

Health IT for the last year has been a discussion among professionals and elites.

Government has had its say. Industry has had its say. Bloggers have had their say, and the customers have been seen as hospitals, insurers and clinics.

This has brought big profits to companies like AllScripts, which just reported a great quarter with more sales, more profits, and fatter margins.

But as James Ralston (right) of the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle notes in a recent report, patients are being left out. Ralston heads the health informatics team at the cooperative, and is part of the OpenNotes team testing electronic medical records in three locations around the country.

Patients need to be part of the solution, he writes, noting that patients most value the services they use the most. Patients should be able to use the technology they like most, whether that's the phone, secure e-mail, or an Internet portal, he says.

Flexibility is cool. I have recently found some doctors willing to communicate with my by e-mail, which is asynchronous, but most still fear HIPAA to the point where they limit what they will say there.

So how can a clinic make change happen? As Ralston says, by putting themselves in their customer's shoes. But also, by first automating the specific services patients use most.

If your practice issues a lot of prescriptions, and patients have complained of mistakes or cost, maybe you want to push eprescribing, which replaces a prescription pad with a checked form and can have the order waiting at the pharmacy before the patient arrives there.

If you're doing a volume business, with a waiting room that looks like a cattle drive, maybe you had best first automate your appointment system. If you're specializing in referrals, that's where you look first.

In all these efforts, you need to play Undercover Boss and look at your operation from the patient's point of view. How are they doing these things now? How do they want to do them?

Instead of seeing what you do as a service, in other words, see what you do as a business. Instead of seeing IT as a cost, make it a benefit. Do those things that provide the most customer satisfaction first, and the rest should take care of itself.

Editorial standards

Related

The 20 best Cyber Monday deals under $30
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

The 20 best Cyber Monday deals under $30

Live blog: 110+ of the best Cyber Monday deals
Large white Cyber Monday text with electronics behind it

Live blog: 110+ of the best Cyber Monday deals

The 57 best Cyber Monday deals on Amazon right now
Image of Amazon Echo Show 8 on a wooden table in front of a person cooking and folding pastry dough.

The 57 best Cyber Monday deals on Amazon right now