TECH: Physicians and patients at the IX conference

I’m getting a little late start this morning, and sat through a few talks without taking decent notes. Suffice it to say that Al Mulley talked about reconciling patient and physician expectations which funnily enough are not always the same. Geisinger’s Buzz Stewart is re-engineering the patient visit using structured patient history questionnaires. Ashley Peterson has a 5 years old child with severe developmental disabilities, and is very very active in her clinic in essentially managing the teams of clinicians, therapists et al that help care for her daughter. She’s really helping them redesign how they communicate with patients. She has a life most of us would just not be able to handle and she’s really pushing the barriers. Amazing, harrowing and inspiring.

Next is a session about tools being used for Ix. First up was Janet Wright, a cardiologist from Chico in a paper-based office. She’s trying to do the right thing but her job is close to impossible (similar to the Dr. Mom on THCB lately), and she’s not sure how to handle the year of the “switch” if she puts in an EMR. Then Kate Christensen from Kaiser tells up about KP.org, the patient view into the medical record. Pretty soon they’re adding things like pictures and device-entered data to all the other things that patients can already communicate (questionnaires, instant history). And she thinks that physicians will be engaged. Jeff Levin-Schertz from Partners (Mass General/Brigham) who is in charge of getting their community centered docs on board with EMR and Ix, and by the quotes he showed they’re a crotchety bunch. They offer their home grown Mass Gen system and the GE Centricity system (the old Medicalogic) to their docs, most of what their docs have they can also swivel the screen and show the patients. They do have a patient portal but at the moment it has limited functionality—but they are able to push letters, test results and other information to patients that way. There are some good results from rolling out this EMR and some keen early enthusiastic physicians. But as he says “getting physicians on board with this stuff is not easy.” Anyone who thinks it is, should read the lots and lots of comments to the “Can Doctors Ever Learn To Love The EMR” post from last December.

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