A colleague tweeted this article, “Are Physicians Truly Engaging with their Patients? by Nancy Finn” about physicians, EMRs and meaningful use. According to the article, “as of March, 2013, 160,890 eligible professionals had received Medicare incentive payments and 83,765 professionals had received Medicaid incentive payments” for achieving stage 1 one meaningful use. While they were able to achieve stage 1, are they ready for stage 2? How are they changing their practice patterns to achieve stage 2?
The article states stage 2 requirements are:
- Provide patients with their health information (via a web portal) on 50% of occasions and have at least 5% of these patients actually download, view or transmit that data to a third party.
- Provide a summary of the care record for 50% of transitions of care during referral or transfer of patient care settings.
- Provide patient-specific education resources identified by Certified EHR technology to more than 10% of patients with an office visit.
- Engage in secure messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information.
- Make available all imaging results through certified EHR technology.
- Provide clinical summaries to more than 50% of patients within one business day.
Finn wonders if “a majority of physicians remain steadfast in dominating the physician/patient relationship, convinced that engaging patients in their care is a burden? Or are many of them beginning to realize that engaging the patient in their health care decisions will make health care more efficient and cost effective, and improve patient outcomes?”
The librarian in me wonders if there are ways we can help physicians meet stage 2 requirements. I know with EPIC a physician can send a request for a librarian to provide patient education information to the patient through their portal. I know specifically of one librarian who got a message in Epic to do that. She logged in, provide links and contact information to appropriate free patient ed resources to the patient. The patient got the information through My Chart and was so happy that she emailed the librarian thanking her for the information. Another nice thing about this patient ed transaction, EPIC noted that patient education information was sent to the patient and included that in her chart for the doctor to see.
I’m not trying to say that doctors shouldn’t help provide patient education information, but I also know that in a hospital environment things can be hectic, confusing, scary, etc. for the patient. They may have gotten information from the doctor but not understood it or wanted more detailed information. Using the librarian to provide patient education material through EPIC (and EPIC notes that it was provided) has got to help both doctors and patients.
Are there other ways that librarians can help doctors and their institutions meet stage 2 requirements? Please comment with your ideas.