For many physicians, the joy of working in health care stems from helping people. This call to help others often creates a sacred bond of trust between the physician and the patient. For better or worse, the evolution of society and technology has made a profound impact on this relationship.
While texts, emails and social media are intended to make us feel more connected, this technology can also make the physician/patient relationship less personal and more transactional. Physicians are always trying to find that perfect balance – using available electronic tools to create transparency with their patients while growing those bonds of trust.
Transparency is Important
Over the past decade, the theory that increased transparency is beneficial for patients has been tested by several healthcare organizations across the country. Did you know…
- Research shows that most people remember less than half of what they discuss with their medical professionals during a visit;
- Sharing health records like labs, radiology reports and clinical notes with patients improves that recall;
- Transparency also increases patients’ engagement in their health and improves communication with their healthcare team;
- Transparency helps people manage their health care in a way that makes them feel more confident, prepared and in control.
The importance of transparency has also been recognized at a national level, and there are new federal regulations like the 21st Century Cures Act, that also supports this perspective.
What is the 21st Century Cures Act?
At NGHS, we accelerated our transparency journey in October 2017, when we implemented Epic as our community’s electronic health record. Our Epic implementation includes a patient portal called MyChart, which allows patients to see their lab and radiology results and communicate with their physicians.
The 21st Century Cures Act is another step further in the transparency journey. Physicians will begin to share clinical notes, labs, radiology and pathology reports, in real time with their patients beginning November 9. This ability will improve patient health and encourage more meaningful participation with a patient’s healthcare team.
One Step Further – A Long Term Relationship
There is a shared responsibility in this new age of transparency. Reading physician notes can help reinforce the plan discussed during a medical visit. Here are some more benefits!
- You will get the most out of this increased transparency if you see your medical records as a starting point for your to-do list;
- This list can guide you to a better state of health and should be brought to your future physician visits for discussion;
- The increased transparency will improve the way you interact with physicians, strengthening that special bond.
The focus will be less on transactions and more on the long-term relationship – and that is the best kind of health care.
If you don’t have a MyChart account already, visit mychart.nghs.com to create an account.
To learn more about Northeast Georgia Health System, visit www.nghs.com
This post was updated on 11/2/2020.