3 ways EHR can help you receive meaningful patient feedback

Patient feedback is an excellent tool for continuously improving the quality of care within a healthcare practice and ultimately achieving patient retention. The difficult part of patient feedback is finding a way to obtain it. A healthcare practice should desire honest, open and critical feedback in order to boost their performance. In addition, positive feedback can boost insurance reimbursement, improve patient retention and be used for marketing strategies. Fortunately, EHR systems offer features and processes that can improve the quality and frequency of patient feedback on practice services.

1. Patient portals

In some patient portals, there may even be an area dedicated to patient feedback. Many EHR systems offer patient portals, in which patients are able to access their own healthcare information, including visit summaries, test results and upcoming healthcare screenings. Patients can also utilize patient portals to communicate with their healthcare provider and receive valuable healthcare educational materials. By designating one page on the patient portal to patient feedback, the patient may be inclined to leave constructive and/or complementary feedback for the practice the next time they access their healthcare record.

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2. Automated patient satisfaction surveys

Electronic health records can capture patient contact information such as cell phones and email addresses. In addition, many EHR systems can send out automated patient satisfaction surveys, which may come in the form of a text message, phone call, or email. The practice can determine if the surveys are sent out after each patient visit, or on a semi-regular calendar basis, such as once yearly or quarterly. Even though not all patients will participate in the requested survey, it is an opportunity to reach out to all patients and obtain valuable information in a relatively quick period of time.

3. Outcomes tracking

Although this method is an indirect way of obtaining feedback, it is an objective and valuable feedback tool. With outcomes tracking, the EHR system can condense, sort and analyze outcomes data in order to reveal changes and improvements for the client database. Outcomes that may be measured may include body mass index, functional outcome measurement tools, cholesterol levels, pain scale ratings or even walking speed. When the practice tracks the change in a specific outcome over time, the practice can see what kinds of improvement (or lack of improvement) their patients are making as a result of treatment. This information should be shared with the patient. This conversation can facilitate excellent discussion for patient feedback.

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Amy Vant

About the author…

Amy Vant is a doctor of physical therapy and clinical director for an outpatient physical therapy clinic in the United States. She has experience utilizing and implementing many forms of medical documentation through various healthcare practice venues. Amy enjoys writing about healthcare administration strategies, including electronic health record systems.

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Amy Vant