Restoring Trust in Patient-Provider Relationship through Document Management
Restoring trust in the patient-provider relationship has never been so difficult, and it’s not healthcare providers’ fault. Rather, it’s the systems on which “experts” have been telling providers to rely.
Healthcare is a cooperative effort that requires a strong relationship between medical personnel and the patient. Trust is one of the most important components of not only the patient-physician relationship but also the relationship between the patient and healthcare institutions.
A lack of trust for the healthcare professional, or the system with which care is administered, can have an effect on the overall outcome of healthcare practices.
When it comes to trust on the level of the healthcare provider, finding ways to improve trust can be difficult and there are several things that can lead to a loss of trust. One thing that has had a negative influence on patient trust is the high-profile data breaches that have occurred over the last few years.
Restoring Trust in the patient-provider relationship: Healthcare Data Breaches
On the institutional level, the trust that a patient may give in regard to their information is important and it can even affect the trust relationship between a patient and their doctor.
A person may trust their primary care physician, but if they do not trust the institution’s ability to keep their information secure, then they may withhold critical facts that could be vital to practitioner’s ability to perform their professional duties.
With several high-profile data breaches occurring in the last year, public uncertainty has been on the rise. People hear about the millions of healthcare consumers whose data was compromised and they begin to feel as though they might not be able to trust the system with sensitive information.
While data breaches may be nothing new, 2015 was a particularly bad year for the healthcare industry in this regard. Just in 2015, more than 112 million records were compromised in 253 separate breaches. Although healthcare providers have grown more conscientious of what’s happening to reputation management issues resulting from this problem, the speed to adopt solutions has been lagging, primarily because most compliance-adherent systems like EMRs and EHRs are just too clunky, ridiculously unusable, and expensive.
There was also the largest breach in the history of healthcare which affected 80 million records from the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Restoring trust in the patient-provider relationship has been difficult just in light of this single incident and the impact it’s had on most people.
These large breaches have shown that even the largest healthcare organizations can be vulnerable and situations like these put a strain on the ability of patients to trust their providers.
Ramifications: From HIPAA Non-compliance to Bad Reputations
If a healthcare institution of any size suffers a data breach, there are some very serious implications. When a patient does not feel as though their information will be secure, they are going to be reluctant to share information that could be important. In addition to that, you also have financial concerns that come along with a breach of patient information. HIPAA Compliance software makes avoiding this an easier endeavor.
For doctors to administer medical advice, they need to be able to rely on their patients to provide them with accurate information. Failure to do so could result in a misdiagnosis or a prescribed treatment that is either inappropriate to the situation or, in the worst case, potentially dangerous. When the patient’s trust is compromised on any level, it can endanger the level of trust that they feel for the entire system. Restoring trust in the patient-provider relationship will demand an adjustment in understanding the risks of non-compliance, too.
Not all health issues are associated with this level of embarrassment, of course, but if the person with the medical condition fears the provider will handle the information irresponsibly, or perhaps knows someone in the hospital who could access the information due to the provider’s negligence, a healthy patient-provider relationship will be difficult to establish, at least on the level of trust.
Beyond this, you also have the concern of the financial losses that can come with a data breach. The patient record is often full of information that could expose them to identity theft. If a patient’s financial information is stolen and they become the victim of a crime, this is a breach of trust that is going to be very difficult to repair.
Moreover, it is important to realize that these security issues with patient records do not just apply to the big players in the healthcare industry. Even smaller institutions like nursing homes and physical therapy centers could be targets. For healthcare providers of all sizes, the security of their patient information should be one of their top concerns.
The Document Management System Offers a Solution Better than EMRs or EHRs
With patient records going digital, the security concerns are very different from the days of file cabinets and folders. With computers and internet connections, a person who wants to access records does not even need to gain access to the premises to steal records.
Not only that, but a single hacker could steal enough records to fill an entire room if they were in the physical form. Not only are EMRs and EHRs more complex than document management systems, they do not resolve the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon, which is at present plaguing the healthcare industry.
One of the keys to keeping patient records safe is to have document management software that has adequate security features. When most people think of DMS systems, they primarily think of the benefits of convenience, productivity, and organization, but with inbuilt security features like encryption and secure portal services, the documents are also kept safe.
The average person does not give their trust easily when it comes to their personal information and those in the healthcare industry need to value the level of trust that is given. To keep that trust, it means individual professionals working to build trust on the interpersonal level and institutions working to ensure the safety of patients and their information within the system.
Are you ready to begin restoring trust in the patient-provider relationship? Check out what a document management system can do for you to get started.