Recently during a meeting with our marketing team, a discussion arose about the fact that pediatricians are more hesitant to adopt electronic health records (EHRs) than physicians in other specialties. Several of the women on the team are mothers and were surprised to learn that according to a recent study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), pediatricians are one-two years behind in making the switch from paper to electronic.
Why is it that while 41 percent of pediatricians claim to use electronic health records, only 19 percent of the systems met the definition of a basic EHR and why are only 6 percent of these reported EHRs fully functional? Michael Leu, M.D., co-author of the Pediatrics study, said that the overwhelming factor dissuading pediatricians from EHR adoption is financial barriers. More than half of the respondents said cost was their biggest deterrent. While there were some doctors who expressed concern about a possible loss of productivity during transition, return on investment and the worry that an EHR system may not meet their needs for pediatric care, the main dilemma most are facing is the prospect of taking on another financial burden. Leu stated that the study also reported that pediatricians in one- or two-physician practices were five times less likely to use a basic EHR system than those in a multispecialty practice, and almost six times less likely than those in a hospital or clinic practice.
This seems wrong in so many ways. Just think of the convenience and efficiencies that pediatrics practices are missing by not adopting health information technology – particularly EHR solutions that also contain a patient portal. How many hours a week does an office spend sending medical records to parents of school-aged children? How often does a pediatrician see parents that could have stayed home and been given directions via e-mail on how to care for their child?
From a parent’s perspective, wouldn’t having instant access to a child’s medical records and physician be a dream come true? One can only imagine. After moving across the city, one of our writers decided that instead of the hassle of switching doctors, she would make a now hour-long drive for the appointments. With four children, the drive has become a nuisance especially when she just needs to pick up a form for school or sports. “If my pediatrician offered me the opportunity to have access to my children’s medical records online, I would pay the fee in a heartbeat. I’m spending the money on gas anyway,” she said. Parents have instant access to their work, usually by just touching the screen of their phone, why shouldn’t their children’s healthcare be just as accessible?
When considering the findings of the AAP study, I realized that Hello Health provides the perfect solution for the pediatricians who are sitting on the fence about whether or not to hop on the EHR bandwagon. Our easy-to-navigate system is completely free, so the worry of taking on an added financial burden becomes obsolete. Transitioning to the Hello Health system is a painless process and we help you every step of the way. And aside from the financial benefits, the Hello Health solution contains a patient portal, and so opens a whole new world of patient engagement. With online appointment scheduling, the ability to review lab reports, access to visit notes, secure messaging and video chat, parents’ access to a child’s physician could not be easier.
Hello Health rises above the basic EHR and provides a seemingly flawless solution for pediatricians wanting to join the electronic world and can open a portal of endless opportunities for a better, more convenient relationship between the doctor and patient.
Steven Ferguson is the patient management officer at Hello Health, the revenue generating EHR platform for primary care practices supporting practice vitality through patient engagement and electronic medical revenue.