Like many Baptist physicians, Dr. Greg Jenkins initially felt uncertain about entering the electronic medical records world when Epic arrived. “I just wasn’t sure if it would be more of a nuisance than help,” he said. Today, and several years later, Dr. Jenkins finds himself more confident about the technology.
“I use it all the time whether it’s for lab reports, sending results to a patient, or follow-up care questions.” His practice strongly encourages patients to use MyChart, and they designated a team member early on to be an advocate to help with sign-ups and even for password issues.
In an era where all doctors are struggling to maintain quality face time with patients, finding ways to reduce screen time is a challenge, especially as the industry is demanding more technical roles from doctors.
Dr. Jenkins finds MyChart to be useful in many ways, like helping patients monitor vitals for chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. “Patients can monitor their readings and share them with me. This is particularly helpful if I’m determining the efficacy of a new medicine.”
Above all, Dr. Jenkins says MyChart is a patient satisfier, and his patients like the experience and accessibility. And while both sides of the fence are growing more accustomed to the technology, Dr. Jenkins says time management—regardless of technology—is still the biggest challenge for all doctors. While MyChart helps organize requests into an inbasket and streamlines minor inquiries coming into his practice, he devotes off hours keeping up. “What I’m learning is to triage the information that comes in and prioritize emails. Patient calls are always first.”
One feature Dr. Jenkins enjoys is the customizable nature of Epic. “In my practice, we share information and teach each other ways to use the system. But my notes are different from other doctors.”
Dr. Jenkins reflects on where healthcare and technology are taking doctors, and his No. 1 concern is his ability to spend time with patients first and technology second. But more and more, the two are inseparable. “The technology is a disruptor, but thankfully, our exam rooms are set up where we can look at the computer screen and the patient without having our back to a patient.”
If time is an issue, perhaps it always was for doctors like Dr. Jenkins. He admits to carrying loads of charts home in the past; while today it may be a laptop, he does believe MyChart fosters a new type of connection with his patients. And in the end, it’s the patient’s experience that matters most to him.