In a recent LinkedIn discussion I started, David Voran offered this powerful perspective:
A doctor’s ability to make good decisions depends on having the right information in the critical path of their day-to-day processes. Have discovered that patients can play a very big role in making this happen. Those patients who have access to their medical records, manage their information (my own internal patients that are nurses or physicians for example) help with the documentation process. They audit the chart 100% of the time and make sure that all of the relevant information that I need to help them with their health is teed up. Over the long haul it’s very easy to take care of these patients at the lowest possible cost.
The patients who can do some of this through the portal … at least monitor their charts and letting us know when there are errors are and that the data is clean, participate in their health, contribute new information that occurs outside the “walls” of our institution are the second least costly patients to provide health care as we can eliminate many office and specialty visits without adversely affecting quality measures.
The costly patients are those who are seeing multiple subspecialists who are not sharing information and don’t have access to their information and don’t want to invest in making sure the right information is presented to the right providers. These patients suffer repeated duplicative tests, have many more office visits than necessary and drive up the cost of care.
My take? What to improve physician performance and decrease cost of care? Open up the record and assign the patient the auditing job and get them engaged.
How do you feel about this perspective? Is it one you share? From my experience, many doctors would disagree with David on this. As with most things, there’s two sides of the coin. On the one side is the patient that’s involved in getting the doctor the right information. Every doctor loves that patient because a patient that withholds information from their doctor is an issue. On the other hand is the involved patient that’s paranoid over things that are a non-issue and make the doctor’s life miserable in the process.
The question I raise is, does access to the records causes more of the good kind of patient or more of the bad kind of patient?