Friday, August 22, 2014

Meaningful Use: A patient's role

As future nurses, medical professionals and healthcare instructors, we know you're all aware of Meaningful Use and how it's impacting providers' use of EHRs and EMRs. One thing we rarely focus on is the patients role in all this.

For the Meaningful Use Stage 2 standards, one of the requirements is that 5 percent of patients access their records electronically. Which is tricky considering most healthcare professionals have a hard enough time getting their patients to coplete a full round of antibiotics or change a dressing on a wound after being discharged, let alone go to a computer and log in to an EHR portal.

However, this change is important to keep in mind when we switch roles and become patients ourselves. Nurses, Nursing Assistants and Medical Assistants are notoriously terrible patients. We ask too many questions, require more attention and refuse to take advice if we don't agree with it. Does that sound familiar?

But the beautiful thing about EHRs is that we now have access to the information we want as patients. We can download and view our records, take a second look at lab results ourselves and request transfers of our information to another facility without data being lost and procedures needing to be redone. We no longer rely solely on interpretation, we have access to our raw data in most cases as well.

So let's be helpful patients and fulfill our own need for information while helping offices meet Stage 2 standards. Let's view our data electronically and rely less on paper. It's a win-win for everyone involved.