Your next patient is in the virtual waiting room . . .

Now that patients have the legal right to information that is in their Charts, you may need to allocate more time to responding to questions and this will mean less time available for meeting with patients.  

 For many, this is the exact opposite expectation following a transition from paper charts to an EMR.

 Funny how an objective can go from ‘patients not paper’ to ‘patients not patient inquiries’.

 With the old paper Chart, assuming session notes recorded were readable and these notes were in chronological order, giving the patient a copy of part or all of his/her Chart, however labor intensive this might have been, would have resulted in questions, but nothing compared to the questions you are likely to get from an electronic chart that in many cases is nothing more than a repository of raw patient session data.

 Most of the EMR software systems on the market today were not designed to cater to the needs of patients – they were designed to provide context and situation specific advice and assistance to healthcare professionals, address interoperability issues and eliminate paper.

 If you are in the market for an EMR system and want to avoid long phone calls with patients re the content of their electronic charts, look for a system that can provide patients with a digital equivalent of the old paper chart (data as it was, at the time it was collected, on the form versions that were in service at the time the data was collected).

 EMRs that meet these criteria are easy to recognize – they will have the same look/feel as if you had taken digital photos of each piece of paper/document in the old paper chart and provided a copy to the patient.

 You will still get calls but these will be a small fraction of the calls you will get if your EMR is not capable of presenting data in a format that is easy for patients to view


Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, major crimes case management, healthcare services delivery, and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2020 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA), CvX Productions, Global Initiatives LLC or HNCT LLC Number of accessing countries 2010-2020/2/15 : 154
This entry was posted in FIXING HEALTHCARE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your next patient is in the virtual waiting room . . .

  1. Daryle Gardner-Bonneau says:

    It is not a matter of the record’s being easy to view. It’s a matter of providing content to patients that is easy to UNDERSTAND, and what is charted is not easy to understand for patients. You’re absolutely right that simply sending patients the chart, or even a CCD or CCR, is going to lead to lots of questions, because studies have shown that EVEN college-educated people do not understand a CCD- or CCR-based record; it’s simply not written in their language. I keep saying it, though people seem un willing to hear it. Patients, by and large, don’t REALLY want their medical records, the way physicians and, evidently, most of the HIT community think of medical records. What they want, and need, is really a lot simpler in the vast majority of cases, but requires work to condense and simplify the content of the EMR or the CCR or the CCD in such a way that patients can understand it, and so that it answers questions THEY are likely to have. Until we recognize that PATIENTS need to have a USABLE medical record, too, we will be wasting our time and our money giving them something they can’t understand, and won’t use.
    Just as an anecdotal example, a patient receives the results of their MRI in the mail, on paper. They need a medical dictionary to decipher them, if they can even then, and it DOES NOT tell them what they want to know – was it normal? And if it wasn’t, what does that mean and what do I do next? Why bother giving them something that fails to effectively communicate?


  2. Paul says:


    This is exactly what I was referring to…well stated!

    I look forward to expanding it further….wait until you see the next iteration…it looks very very nice!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s