News Seth Stratton | one year ago

Care Redesign Aims to Rejuvenate the Patient Provider Experience

Technology gives patients more ‘quality time’ with their doctors.

The following article was written by Robert Alexander, MD, Specialty Medical Director and Pediatrician, Carolinas HealthCare System.  Samantha walks into her child’s doctor’s appointment and discovers there are two people in the room, helping walk through her nine-month-old’s medical history and symptoms. She’s thrilled her doctor has time to sit down with her, as a certified medical assistant notes the symptoms in her daughter’s electronic medical record (EMR). After the physician examines the infant, she diagnoses her with an ear infection and the certified medical assistant electronically sends prescription information to a nearby pharmacy.
Robert Alexander, MD, Specialty Medical Director and Pediatrician, Carolinas HealthCare System Robert Alexander, MD, Specialty Medical Director and Pediatrician, Carolinas HealthCare System
As a specialty medical director at Carolinas HealthCare System and pediatrician at Rock Hill Pediatric Associates, I believe this process, known as “care redesign,” is key to re-establishing the provider-to-patient relationship we experienced decades ago. Every year, providers, nurses and office managers try new technology in hopes of becoming more efficient, accurate and satisfactory. As we look to the future, whether it’s counseling patients hundreds of miles away using Skype or messaging our patients through a secure portal, we haven’t forgotten the most important reason for our work: our patients. Care redesign utilizes technology and renews patients’ faith that their doctor has time to listen and learn about them. I equate the change in quality time with patients to the days of written charting, where patients had one-on-one time with the doctor. The workload and technology are very different, but the doctor and patient relationship is rejuvenated as we transform the way we communicate. With additional staff managing workflow and also assisting with the electronic medical record, patients have more one-on-one time with their providers. During appointments, I use my iPad to access patient charts and work through patient histories and prescriptions. A certified medical assistant records symptoms during appointments and also helps with printing educational materials for patients. Gone are the days of finishing patient notes for hours after appointments, thanks to a larger care team in place. A successful team works together to ensure the highest quality of care. As the relationship progresses between flow managers, certified medical assistants and clinicians, the collaboration leads to more efficient treatment of patients. In the eyes of the patients, like Samantha, it also means more quality time with their doctors and a consistent experience.