Improving Patient Interactions with a Real-Time Location System (RTLS)

Cindy Troftgruben

A study from the Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics analyzed the impact of EHRs on physician-physician interactions. Physicians noted that while the EHR improves access to information – a benefit for patient interactions – it has negatively impacted the quality of their interactions and relationships with patients.

“Interacting with the computer rather than my patient. Like having someone at the dinner table texting rather than paying attention.”

Physicians in office settings also said that they’ve altered their workflows to be able to stay engaged with their patients, but that has resulted in longer work days in order to complete required documentation.

“I have to do my documentation after seeing patients because I am not going to type into the computer while they are trying to talk to me.”

The EHR is an important tool that brings incredible value. But how do we bring balance back to physicians – enabling them to get back to doing what they love?

As a nurse who worked in direct patient care for many years, I understand the value EHRs provide but also have experienced the additional work created – it took me up to three times longer to chart in the EHR than on paper. I’ve also seen care teams look for creative and innovative ways to try get time back to focus on patient care – for example, leveraging a scribe to handle documentation.

Now with my role at InSites, I’ve seen how RTLS can be an effective, innovative tool to give nurses and providers more time with patients. Using automatically collected data, care teams can have visibility into:

  • How long patients wait – in the waiting room and the exam room
  • How much time patients spend with their nurse/MA and physician (value-added time)
  • How much idle time nurses and physicians have (non-value-added time)

By leveraging RTLS data and looking at trends, more effective care templates can be designed. Patient waiting and cycle time can be reduced – and yet physicians and nurses can spend more time with their patients and have even more time available to complete documentation. Patient satisfaction can be improved, as physicians and nurses can have more engaging conversations and patients feel like they are truly being heard.

Have you considered RTLS in your practice? What other innovative tools are you using to improve patient interactions? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Cheers,

Cindy Troftgruben, RN BSN
Customer Solution Specialist

Join me for a Webinar

I invite you to join me in our clinic-focused webinar on Thursday, July 20. We’ll be discussing how RTLS can fill a gap by supplementing existing EHR and practice management technologies – as well as how it can impact key clinic operational performance metrics.

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