“With all of the excitement and discussion around Meaningful Use Stage 2 happening, it is perhaps good to remind the industry of something physicians and other providers already know: Patients don’t care about Meaningful Use.
What DO they care about?
Well, we know they care about family, work, friends, recreation, faith and health. They care about time for – and away from – each of those. More and more people are connected via phones, smartphones, and other mobile devices. They are spending more time online via social media, texting or emails, with their family, for work, friends, recreation, faith and – health??
We know from the surveys and information relayed to us by Susannah Fox (Pew Internet) and Jane Sarasohn-Kahn that people are going online looking for health information (“NOW”). Because they need it? Let’s take that slowly: People are online…looking for health information/education…looking for answers to concerns…any time of day or night…and…where/when can they engage with their physician/provider? Is it the next day, in two days, a week or more?
When I’m dealing with a health issue, but have to work anyway, I often (try to) put it out of my mind so that I can continue being productive. I might not think again about it until that night, possibly right before bed. The same goes for when a family member brings me a health issue or a need for a renewed prescription – it seems to be in the evening when we have time to talk with each other and reflect. I’ve been fortunate that my physician has set me up with secure messaging, and I seem to always send her messages about 10 pm (“NOW”). Then I can rest, knowing that I will have an answer from a knowledgeable source often within one day (during the week).
I will confess I have also asked health questions of physicians who don’t know me via an iPhone app, just due to wanting to ask the question when it was on my mind (“NOW”). The answer was somewhat useful, and did reflect a lack of knowledge of my health history, but hey, it was free and almost immediate, so what do I have to complain about? Still, if I had ready access to my health history to share…
So, access to my records, secure messaging and patient education – these things seem to matter to patients. Hmmm… sound like Meaningful Use to you?”
* Meaningful Use is defined by the use of certified EHR technology in a meaningful manner (for example electronic prescribing); ensuring that the certified EHR technology is connected in a manner that provides for the electronic exchange of health information to improve the quality of care; and that in using certified EHR technology the provider must submit to the Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) information on quality of care and other measures.