Within modern health care system, emerging technologies with focus on eHealth and mHealth platforms focus on improving the quality of care thereby improving patient health outcomes. A strong emphasis is placed on ‘patient engagement’ – the holy grail of eHealth sector. The term may be used more often than actually applied in solutions in the market, and that to a varying degree. While the patient engagement conundrum is being fervently worked on by numerous companies, another equal if not even greater enigma remains in healthcare – ‘doctor engagement’.

If it isn’t a buzzword in the eHealth sector, it will be soon. Patient-centric approach to health care, especially with a strong technology component is a concept that emerged in only the last few years. Doctor-centered technologies such as EHRs have been in use for far longer, yet engaging doctors and reducing doctor workload seems to be inadequately addressed. Afterall, doctors do not have to like the EHR the hospital or clinics uses – the decision is not always up to them.

Moreover, doctors are the primary driver for patient care and management, offering them capabilities to better manage patients while reducing workload should be priority. A doctor not overworked due to cumbersome technology can better engage patients.  Yet, that seems to be an afterthought for many vendors of eHealth systems.

Studies have indicated that doctors prefer a system that doesn’t increase their workload or interfere during patient visits and offers functions that are easy to access using a effective UI/UX. Offering a flexible way to take notes and manage clinician workflow is also something that needs to be considered.

Some things to consider, for increasing doctor engagement:

  • Take doctor input and preferences into consideration when deciding on an EHR or some eHealth application
  • Select a platform that offers user customization
  • Look for an intuitive dashboard with good features
  • Select a platform that allows easy navigation and data input
  • More features is not always better, select platforms based on your end goals and top critical features plus beneficial secondary features
  • Demos, trials, and pilots – the more use test and learn the system before using it, the better your final decision will be. Of course it is difficult to try different types of platforms at Practices. However, if your pratice is seriously considering investing in a new platform for years to come, make sure you can test it for an extended period first.

Keeping such factors in mind, when will doctor experience gain vital importance in EHR and eHealth technology development?

References ( For Further Reading)

The HappyMD: 9 Reasons Physicians Hate EMR – Findings from the 2013 RAND/AMA Physician Satisfaction Study

RAND Corporation: Factors Affecting Physician Professional Satisfaction and Their Implications for Patient Care, Health Systems, and Health Policy

UXP Magazine: Usability in Healthcare: A ‘Wicked’ Problem