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No Second Chance: How to Form a Great Doctor-Patient Relationship

The old adage that we all know is that there is never an opportunity to make a second first impression.  And to top it off, that first impression is formed in the first seconds of meeting someone new, in fact, studies show that it is in the first seven seconds.  The human mind is conditioned to make snap decisions about others and when it comes to patients meeting physicians for the first time, you are being judged for competence and friendliness.  Are you good what you do, should I trust you, and will I be comfortable speaking openly with you?

Changing first impressions takes much more time and effort, and as we each know about ourselves, it is difficult to come back from a bad first impression.

With so much riding on the first impression, some pointers, hopefully, reminders, about things that you should be doing when meeting that new patient, or meeting again with an existing patient.

ICD-10 Family Practice Codes

  1. Smile: The first thing noticed is your face, what does it say? Yours should be a welcoming smile, conveying friendliness. The arms folded is off-putting.
  1. Introduce yourself: Believe it or not, some physicians have gotten into the bad habit of immediately launching into questions about the patient’s needs and condition, evening moving to start the examination without a simple; “Hello I am Dr x.  And put offer your hand to be shaken.
  1. Make eye contact: maintain constant eye contact for the first few seconds. Don’t glance at them as if they are secondary to the test result in your hand. It shows that you are ging them your undivided attention.
  1. Ask permission: After the initial question and answers as to the patient’s condition, ask permission to examine them. “Ok, may I be examining you”, or whatever body part. This is a statement that allows the patient to feel empowered.  They control whether or not you are going to touch them.
  1. Posture: You may be rushed, you may be hurried, you may be a tense form that last phone call, but you have to train yourself to appear calm and present. Stand upright and confident.

Another old adage is “he’s a great physician but has a lousy bedside manner” is far too prevalent a description of physicians of their patient.  Yes, they are able to see through the bad first impression, but clearly, there is something missing in the patient-physician relationship.  Such a reputation is not one that attracts new patients, and actually, one that inhibits good communications.

Your job set one, is to create an environment where there are trust and an openness to communications.  The patient needs to feel that they are not an interruption of your day and that they can tell you about their needs, and fears.  Such patients are better listeners, and their listening, as well as their speaking, are important for a good outcome.

The advent of patient ratings, whether online or tied to bonus or compensation programs makes developing a good first impression increasingly important for you and your practice.

These are just three brief things you can do to make a great first impression that says you are a friendly, caring and competent physician. Even for a highly educated professional like a doctor, you cannot escape the laws of human nature and behavior, and you can have a list of publications as long as your arm — but it will come to naught if you don’t understand how to communicate.

Think about the first several seconds you meet someone.


The valuable asset you already have: Your EHR data

A recent survey by Accenture reveals adoption of Electronic Health Record (EHR) software and Health Information System (HIE) is rising in the United States. Despite the fact that most doctors agree implementing an EHR system does not reduce their operational costs, they are embracing the technology because it has helped them make better decisions and has led to fewer medical errors.

Another survey reveals that almost 50-60% of US physicians are using some sort of electronic medical record software to help them in their practice workflows. With such huge data available, physicians can actually put it to good use and make informed decisions. Using key patient information such as demographics, allergies, gender, age group, family history and other illnesses, a physician can help improve the quality of care and clinical performance.

Let’s discuss a few more ways through which you can make good use of available data and position yourself for upcoming value-based reimbursements. Read more

What Does the Cyber Security Action Plan Mean for Small Medical Practices

What Does the Cyber Security Action Plan Mean for Small Medical Practices?

Be a Leader in Your Practice

Physicians can no longer rely on vendors to take the reins when it comes to IT security. They must take on a leadership role within their office to emphasize the importance of protecting patient data. HIPAA requires providers to designate a privacy and security officer on your staff. If you haven’t done so already – now is definitely the time.

Document Everything

Though doctors barely have time to grab a second cup of coffee these days, they will now have to spend even more time on documentation. And not just documenting patient interactions – no – documenting all security measures that are in place including how you created them and what steps you take to monitor them. It’s a good idea to keep this documentation organized either in a paper or electronic folder for your records.

Conduct Security Risk Analysis

Make sure the privacy and security officer you assigned on your team conducts security risks analysis often. This will allow you to compare your current in-house measures to what is legally required to safeguard private patient data as well as identify high priority threats and vulnerabilities. Continue Reading

Are You Ready for #HIMSSanity?

The Oscars of Health IT, as my boss likes to call it, is less than a week away. I personally believe HIMSS is more like the Golden Globes; you actually get to party while working and networking with your peers rather than being suffocated with lame jokes and an air of formality which pretty much sums up the Oscars. Anyways, I digress.


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Can copy and paste jeopardize your practice?

There is a great feeling of happiness for anyone who learns how to   use the copy and paste function. It is like a world of possibilities opened up for you and you no longer have to type those words over and over again. But with ability like this comes a great responsibility. When using the copy and paste option in EHRs then there are some serious risks of errors being made.

According to an AHIMA report about 79-90% of physicians use copy/ paste function in their EHRs and around 20-78% of the physician notes are copied from text. Thus it is not shocking to see a large number of errors being made in the EHR systems.

Dangers of Copy and Pasting

 Imagine an intensive care unit (ICU) where patient is in critical condition and any minute changes in the treatment of the patient could have adverse effects. Whereas previous day plans are often used in the following day.

The previous day plans may not contain the updated information and copying the old charts can put the patient in fatal risk if the current data is lost. If an ICU unit copies a medical procedure from previous days while updating the treatment plan then the procedure can be coded twice and it can lead to overpayment.

Does doctors need to copy and paste at all?

There are certain times when the copy/paste function is recommended in order to streamline the workflow. The copy/paste command should be used for copying the demographics, regular medications, lists of problems, labs and allergies.

Clinicians and physicians need to use the copy/paste function appropriately and carefully. Whenever a new condition arises the best way is to manually enter the data and verify it in order to ensure accuracy.

Many of us would agree that copy/paste function is a blessing. But this blessing comes with a warning, so physicians and clinicians need to be careful when using this functionality. As it can get them into a trouble faster than they can imagine.