Patient Engagement: We Are Getting There!

Patient Engagement: We Are Getting There!

Effective patient engagement is a process, not a destination. For those of us who have embraced technology as part of our workflow, it can really make your office more efficient and improve patient care. While there are lots of outsiders telling us what we should be doing and how to do it (Meaningful Use, PCMH), if there is REAL value, it’s a no-brainer.

Take the recent recall of the Auvi-Q products in the market.The manufacturer pulled the products due to safety concerns and inappropriate dosing delivery. It’s not like this medication is something we can casually do something about. When you need emergency epinephrine, it’s an emergency!

In the old days, we would have relied on public announcements and passive notification of our families. We would cross our fingers and hope that parents had realized they need to replace their medication and hope that they did so prior to actually needing it. Maybe we would have sat around at lunch and tried to figure out some of our patients with allergies for whom we “thought” we might have written a prescription. That list would be incomplete at best, and inaccurate for sure.

Now we are fortunate to have an electronic health record where we can quickly search for all of our patients with Auvi-Q on their medication list. And if you are like me and use the patient message eXchange, you sent those families a message about the recall using their preferred method of contact for recalls.

All of that effort, and it only took me five minutes. Families called the office within minutes of receiving the message and asked for a replacement EpiPen. Many messaged us on their portal account. We processed them as rapidly as we could (and often so quickly that our local pharmacies ran out!) We kept that original contact list and made sure that everyone got their replacement. We tracked down families who were slow to respond to our original message blast.

So instead of passive notification and a hope that our patients would be safe, we are now empowered to actively engage the families in the best care for their children using technology. For those frustrated with technology….hang in there! We are making progress! There are clearly advancements that are beneficial to our patients and our practices.

Join me in helping to advance health IT in a way that matters to us. If we can get technology built in a way that works for us and with us, think of the possibilities!