That requires some scheduling technology. Sounds simple, until you realize that EHRs may or may not be able to help, that each practice may have its own silo of scheduling software, that each provider carries a mobile device – probably his or her own – that may or may not be in sync with the office's schedule, and the patient has his or her own schedule that ought to be able to coordinate with the providers' schedules.
But too often, we spend too much time and too many steps trying to sort all this out. The value of health IT is multiplied when it adheres to standards in everything from medical records to scheduling.
Savvy providers will always find ways to innovate on top of basic services and standards, to stomp out waste and inefficiency and delight employees and patients. True, the landscape has changed forever, and there will come a day when most patients will hardly ever visit a doctor in person. But we're in the business of health, not healthcare.
"We all wish we had five hours with each patient, but it's not realistic," Nayyar says. "The average office visit is like 8 to 10 minutes and typically docs are dealing with several disease states, but that's why I think health technology is so great, because you're able to extend that conversation beyond the office walls."
So, Happy National Health IT Week. We may not be a nation of e-patients yet, but somewhere between the Google search and the office encounter, we're learning.