Flip No. 73

Updating EHR While Reducing Screen Time

Maintaining electronic records doesn’t have to take a toll on patient engagement.

By Suzanne Cohen, Chilese Nkonde-Price, William Strimel, Karl Surkan

Developed at Flip the Clinic Lab: Philadelphia

Electronic health records (EHRs) have made it easier for physicians to track patients over time. But as a patient, when you come in for a visit and your doctor is paying more attention to the computer screen than you, it can be incredibly frustrating.

There’s an easy way to update the EHR while also allowing patients to feel like they’re connecting with their physicians. Instead of having doctors update it when patients are in the examination room, staff members could connect with patients when they first come in, have them verify the information in the EHR, and also use the interaction as an opportunity to educate them. For example, if a patient has diabetes, staff can provide information about lifestyle changes that contribute to a reduction in symptoms—and note that the information was shared in the EHR. Updating records when patients first arrive and asking the patient to validate the information in the record would also be a far more valuable use of wait time.

Because doctors no longer have to update the record themselves, they can spend less time typing and have more time to really engage with patients, increasing patient satisfaction. Patients would also be encouraged to let the clinic know if there were any updates that needed to be made, further involving them in their EHR.