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Want Your EMR Implementation to be Popular? Ask This One Question

August 3, 2011
by Gwen Darling
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Do you listen critically while inputting patient data into your EMR at the bedside?

Last summer, I moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and immediately set about establishing my home base there. I found a new hair stylist, a new coffee shop, and a new bartender who could mix a proper skinny margarita - you know, all the critical things. Also on the list were the details I knew I had to address but continued to put off: New driver's license, new car tags, new doctor.

I finally got around to scheduling an appointment with a new doctor last week since I needed a prescription renewed (car tags and license have yet to expire - Oklahoma, Arkansas - same thing, right?) and was quite pleased with my choice of physician. In addition to Dr. Chen's general demeanor and obvious intelligence, what really impressed me was the manner in which she handled the documentation of our conversation and my exam. Although she was inputting information into my EMR during our time together, she made it a point to look me in the eye and really listen, rather than focusing on getting the data into the computer. At the time, I remember thinking that she was naturally astute and compassionate when it came to juggling the patient and the data, and felt very fortunate that I had found a doctor who "got it." When I arrived home, however, I realized that I was luckier than I imagined, because I received a patient satisfaction survey with a question I had never been asked:

Nice. The fact that this question was on the survey told me that this practice group understands that the caregivers' "bedside manner" is now really their "bedside/EMRside manner." Thinking back, all of the staff members approached the data entry with the same social awareness as Dr. Chen - I'll bet their shared finesse is not a coincidence, but instead the result of a specific training effort designed to result in patient EMR buy-in and satisfaction. And when the patients are happy, everyone's happy. Pretty smart. And one more thing to love about Tulsa!

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