A Little EHR Education Could Go a Long Way

Posted on November 23, 2011 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I’ve always got my eyes open for news of healthcare facilities marketing their healthcare IT systems to patients. To me, explaining the new high-tech gadgetry at check-in and the new computers/laptops/tablets in each exam room goes a long way towards making patients feel more comfortable before, during and after a visit to the doctor or even hospital.

I came across two recent examples of patient outreach that I think are great ideas, and would certainly get my attention, and perhaps even get me to consider switching providers.

The first is an ad from Martin Memorial Health Systems in Florida, promoting their transition from paper-based records to an electronic medical records system (Epic, if you must know.) News of the implementation in a recent HISTalk post mentions that the ad is part of a campaign announcing the system’s transition starting in December. I couldn’t find any mention of the campaign, or the transition, on the hospital’s website, so I’m not sure where exactly this ad will appear – hospital hallways, local newspapers, etc.

The second comes from Kay Gooding, Project Director of the Region D Health Information Technology Consortium at Pitt Community College. She alerted me to HealthIT.gov’s Campaign Toolkit – a variety of online resources that organizations can use to educate the general public about healthcare IT. The toolkit includes a short video (see below) on Ensuring the Security of Electronic Health Records. I could see this being played in hospital lobbies, doctor’s waiting rooms, or even embedded in some sort of physician-sponsored new patient welcome site, which could also house medical history/personal health records, consent and privacy forms, and the like.

I’d be interested to know from a marketing perspective, whether patient-facing educational campaigns result in an increase in new patients who are attracted to more technically advanced facilities, and if these same patients experience better clinical outcomes and satisfaction as a direct result of new HIT systems. If you hear of anything, let me know.