With technology quickly changing, the personal aspect can become lost across multiple industries. In the healthcare sector, for example, electronic health records (EHRs) are designed to streamline patient care and keep it cost-effective. However, it's still important for doctors to provide patients with personal attention, and be available to explain test results.
A recent report by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that the top EHRs have difficulties combatting the social and technical challenges that can hinder the delivery of test results.
The report was developed with both social and technical issues affecting test management in mind. It was consistent with other surveys, as it found that 46.1 percent of providers rely on additional patient visits to notify them of normal test results, while 20.1 percent rely on a next visit to relay abnormal test result information.
Hardeep Singh, chief of health policy for the quality and informatics program at the Houston VA Health Services Research Center of Excellence, led the study.
The surprising thing, Singh said in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare, was that 85.6 percent of PCPs reported having to stay after hours or come in on weekends to address EHR test result alerts.
"Very few have time to take care of [alerts], and that's an organizational issue," he said. "PCPs are spending so much time on this, and this was one of the things we were able to quantify."
In conclusion, the study found that a "comprehensive, socio-technical approach" is needed to help improve EHR test result management. Medical facilities could greatly benefit from partnering with a third-party answering service, which could help ensure doctor-patient communication.
Representatives will be available 24/7 and can be reached through phone, email or text messaging services. That way, patients can rest assured that they can receive answers through whatever medium is most convenient to them, at any time of day.