With the impending introduction of stage 2 of meaningful use, which will hold medical professionals to stricter guidelines regarding EHRs, chiropractors and other specialists are striving to ensure their practices meet the guidelines designated by the federal government. However, though these measures have been put in place to facilitate efficiency and enable medical professionals and patients to access their records as needed, one specialist has weighed in on a potential impediment these guidelines may present: diluting the patient-doctor interaction itself.
In an interview with Healthcare IT News, Dr. Nick van Terheyden explained that patients "want the attention of the clinician and unfortunately what the process of data entry and data capture has done is defocus that interaction."
In a bid to meet the rigorous demands stipulated by meaningful use stage 2, Dr. van Terheyden warned that physicians may be required to devote more time to these administrative aspects, which could place further constraints on their engagement with each patient. In addition, as medical professionals transition from freehand note-taking to data entry and codification, there is the added risk that substantial aspects of the equation in each patient's care – namely, the story that inevitably accompanies each sprain or ailment – may be lost.
Van Terheyden argued that, for all of the benefits of structured data in terms of accessibility and analysis, medical professionals must adhere to meaningful use guidelines without allowing such technological advancements to color how they approach each clinical case.
Though every chiropractor will have to devise their own approach to this process in their chiropractic practice management, the tools they rely on in this time can substantially affect their ability to address these two concerns. Investing in chiropractic software that is both intuitive and facilitative of clinical notes that extend beyond anonymous checkboxes can, for example, enable these professionals to meet federal guidelines without sacrificing undue time or patient care.