My Patient Experience

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Thursday, 20 December 2012 16:29

The healthcare industry is constantly changing, growing, and adapting new forms of technology to change processes in the hopes of making the patient experience easier and more enjoyable.  With all of the growth and adaptation comes more room for error and the possibility of more stress on the patients and healthcare providers.  Over the past few years I have dealt with many of the issues and breakdowns within the healthcare system personally and I would like to share my story with you.

Several years ago I started going to my family doctor for a medical issue I was having.  They ran several tests over the course of a few months, most of which were rather expensive, and finally came to a conclusion. I needed to go to a specialist.  I had my file transferred over to the specialist and set up my first appointment.  At my first appointment the new doctor said that he needed to rerun several of the tests I had already had, this time at their hospital on their machines and scales to verify that there weren’t any lab errors.  After working with the new specialist for several months, I was told that I needed to go to a different kind of specialist that was more specific to what the labs and test results were indicating.  Once again I started going to a new doctor and the entire process was repeated and I began to wonder why I had to continue to pay for tests I had already had and why the various physicians I was dealing with couldn’t work together to share information.

To make matters even more difficult, one of the physicians’ offices I had been going to decided to make the switch over to an EMR.  Since I work for a company that deals first hand with the implementation of EMR’s I was excited for this change.  Unfortunately somewhere along the way, my patient file lost some very important data...my insurance information.  I was unaware of this until I received a notice in the mail saying my most recent visit was not covered by my insurance provider.  After calling the office to find out more information, I learned that during the switch from paper to electronic media they had entered outdated insurance information.  How could they have made that mistake?  I hadn’t been with that insurance provider for two years.  It took several phone calls to the physician’s practice and my insurance provider to finally get everything corrected so that a new adjusted bill could be created.

There are several patients that have had this same experience.  They waste time and money trying to find a doctor who can finally tell them what is wrong and what can be done to help fix it.  What can the physicians’ offices do to avoid having this happened?  Why is it that when you switch over to a new doctor you have to go backwards before moving forward?  I began to understand the importance of technology in Healthcare on a whole new level.  The use of a patient portal could be the solution to this problem.  Wouldn’t it be nice if a patient could go to one place and see all of their medical history, test results, appointment dates, outstanding bills, and all other patient information and then share that information with their physicians?  What if that same information in the patient portal could be transferred from one physician's office to the next electronically?  Receiving the patient information could cut down on some of the initial work needed to input a new patient and help the receiving doctor make better patient care decisions based on each individual patient's entire history.

The use of patient portals in physician practices is a rising technology that has several areas for advancement in the future.  To learn more about how patient portals are being used now and what benefits they can offer for both the patient and the physicians office read this months article, An Apple a Day..., by Zoraida Kincaid.

Ashley West

If you are interested in finding out more information about patient portals and what CoreTech can do to implement and personalize a custom Patient Portal for your office, click here.