Leveraging Technology to Transform Patient and Provider Relationships
As a busy general internist in private practice in Great Falls, Mont., James Legan, MD, recognizes the importance of maximizing office efficiency and keeping his overhead low. He started his technology journey in 2011 with an Amazing Charts EHR. Dr.Legan then looked for other opportunities to run his office as efficiently as possible while maintaining a high level of care and his search brought him to Updox. Today, 75% of Dr. Legan’s patients are active patient portal users who message office staff, check their results and schedule appointments. He also uses Updox for integrated faxing.
“Embracing technology is one of the best business decisions I’ve made in my 21 years of being a doctor. We’ve seen tremendous reductions in redundancy and inefficiency and have saved in paper, toner and postage,” says Dr. Legan. “Most importantly, thanks to technology, one nurse can do the work of at least 2.5 employees 10 to 15 years ago.”
Once patients embrace the idea of the portal, the next step is getting them to use it. “My nurse creates the portal account and prints a paper copy of username and password at the office visit. We also provide a cheat sheet with details about accessing the porta and also post this on our Updox web site. We encourage them to log on and save the address of the Updox portal to their favorites in the toolbar. Once patients start to use the portal, they love it. They feel empowered and appreciate the immediacy of results.”
Sending messages quickly and cost-effectively
Dr. Legan’s practice used the practice-wide broadcast message when they wanted to promote a flu vaccine clinic. After sending out a letter regarding time and date of the flu clinic to all 760+ portal patients instantaneously, within 48 hours most had viewed the message. The number of messages opened and read was easily confirmed in his nurse’s Updox inbox and resulted by a high turnout for the flu clinic. This practice-wide broadcast approach accrued no costs for paper, postage or administrative time for phone calls.
“Technology truly helps me become a better physician and improve the quality of care I offer,” says Dr. Legan. “I’m able to spend more time with patients, engage them in their care, make fully informed decisions and do what’s best for them.”
Now, Dr. Legan is taking technology even further. He’s launched #ProjectedEHR that pushes patient engagement in new ways and uses the EHR as a visual teaching tool. A Chromebook and 24-inch TV screen system in the exam room allow patients to see their own record in real time at the visit. He can walk them step-by-step through histories, tests, results and options. “It personalizes medicine and allows patients to become partners and co-leaders in their care. The visual push of seeing what I see is huge for comprehension and understanding.”
“I have been able to transform my office structure and provide my patients with improved care, quality and speed of service. My nurse can manage everything, including the EHR, schedule, telephone, portal, fax and scanner, all at her fingertips,” says. Dr. Legan. “With this platform, I’m able to meet the needs of my patients nearly instantaneously. With the portal, practice-wide broadcast messaging and using the EHR as a visual educational tool, I am able to practice at a level I never dreamed possible.”
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