Tips for talking to patients about EHRs

Tips for talking to patients about EHRs

As a physician, you want to make sure your practice is running smoothly, which is why you take the time to choose and implement an effective and reliable electronic health records system. You also want to be confident your patients feel safe, comfortable and informed when seeking care at your organization, which is why it is important to discuss your shift toward digital files with every patient at your facility. If you are unsure how to discuss this change in the exam room, here are some tips to get started. 

Explain what EHRs are 
While many of your patients will probably be familiar with electronic health records, there will be a number of people who will not. This is why it is important to thoroughly explain what they are compared to the paper files most patients are used to.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, you should explain to your patients that EHRs are more than simply paper files uploaded to electronic devices. They are digital records that can easily be shared by multiple physicians, making it easier for patients to seek care from teams of specialists. 

Outline the benefits
Now that you have discussed just what EHRs are, DHHS suggested showing your patients just how their care will be positively affected once they have been implemented. Talk about how, ultimately, EHRs will help them get better health care since all of their medical information will be stored in one easy-to-access file. That way, all the doctors they see will be familiar with all their conditions and medications.

Additionally, speak to them about how EHRs will allow them to become more active participants in their own care. Discuss how they'll be able to access their personal information with the patient portal feature so they can be fully informed about their health.

Listen to their concerns 
According to NueMD, many people are concerned about the safety and security of EHRs. The source noted that in 2012 up to 13 percent of patients chose to withhold important medical information because they were distrustful of electronic files. Since incomplete files defeat the purpose of integrated medical records, it is vital to explain that today's digital models are extremely secure and are designed with sensitive information in mind. Remind patients that paper files risk being lost or stolen as well, and that moving them online does not necessarily increase this existing risk.