You may have seen a recent TV commercial for a health insurance provider. As the story goes, the patient is prescribed medications from two different places. Fortunately, the patient calls a nurse at the insurance provider before taking either of the medications. The nurse advised the patient that these two medications could have caused a dangerous interaction. Although I can appreciate this level of service from the insurance provider, I can’t help but wonder how the two physicians in this situation might feel about the patient experience they each provided.
There are a myriad of opportunities to engage patients beyond their encounter in the clinic. When it comes to the strategic use of EMR/PM systems and other information technologies, a good starting point might be to think about what the people at either clinic could have done to capture this conversation with the patient from insurance provider. Although it may seem like a competitive conversation, it really has more to do with the patient experience beyond that time spent with the physician. It’s not about tangling up the physician with even more work than he/she already has with patient encounters every day, it’s about engaging all of those supporting staff in the clinic to participate in the coordination of care on behalf of the physician. It is about a line of communication and meaningful accessibility between the patient and the clinic, not just the physician, to extend the value of that patient encounter as needed.