Imagine referring your patient to a colleague: as usual, you manually find, collate and draft information for the referral letter. To add context, you copy-paste your notes inside, but this creates extra work. If you find this process tedious, you’re not the only one. Plato has introduced note sharing to automate the referral process and simplify collaboration in care. Now, you can securely share select folders directly from your EMR with colleagues, regardless whether they use Plato. Your colleagues can likewise share key patient data with you to improve decision making and minimise clinical errors. Unlike email and messaging services, Plato lets you fully control who has access to your shared notes at all times. You can even rescind access to a shared note, if you wish.
Doctors must work closely together on complex patient cases. Note sharing puts team members on the same page, so clinicians get a holistic view of the patient’s medical condition, history, progress and care plan. Let’s say you’re part of a care team for a patient with bowel cancer. The team comprises six members: clinician nurse specialist; surgeon; radiologist; oncologist; pathologist; gastroenterologist. Each specialist provides their own expertise and analysis of the patient’s condition. Clinicians must reach a consensus on the patient’s diagnosis and treatment based on their analyses and combined proficiencies. When team members share vital data to support clinical investigations and decision making, it not only improves care coordination, patient outcomes, job satisfaction and work relationships, but also reduces operational inefficiencies, medical lapses and clinician burnout (Smith et al., 2018; TigerConnect, 2020). Doctors who are new to note sharing can consider sharing Summaries, Problem Lists or direct lab/radiology results for a start.
Automate the Referral Process
Drafting referral letters is time-consuming. Doctors may copy-paste their notes into referral letters to provide context for care. This method is tedious, and can understandably lead to key details being accidentally omitted. Instead of wasting your time on data entry, automate work by sharing select folders, without leaving your EMR. Imagine you’re a dentist referring your patient, Evan, to your colleague, Dr Myia, who is an endodontist. From your EMR in Plato, you share a folder containing a summary of Evan’s dental condition, including x-rays, directly with Dr Myia. Even though Dr Myia doesn’t use Plato, she can securely receive and view your shared folder as read-only on a simple and attractive web-based interface, built specially by Plato. By reading your shared notes, Dr Myia gets a clear understanding of Evan’s dental condition, the treatment he requires, and any dental history that might require Dr Myia’s advanced planning. If Dr Myia uses Plato, even better—she can share her post-treatment notes, directly with you from her Plato EMR, to aid your follow-up with Evan. Referral letters may be the norm, but due to their admin-intensive nature, it’s not uncommon for referral letters to be incomplete, inaccurate, and lacking contextual data for accurate decision making (Chase et al., 2014; DeAngelis et al., 2010; Janssen et al., 2020). Poorly written referral letters can lead to delayed treatments and affect patient outcomes (M. Patel et al., 2011). Note sharing makes it easy for you and your colleague to access relevant data for an efficient referral process.
Minimise Errors and Poor Clinical Decisions
Have you ever asked your patient to recall a test result, only to hear the words, “I think it might be” or “I am not sure”? Sometimes, providers may rely on data reported by their patient or caregiver to close knowledge gaps. However, recall bias is extremely common among patients and caregivers. They either misremember or fail to accurately recall events, memories and details, such as test results. When you share notes using Plato, you minimise the chances of medical errors and poor clinical decisions from occurring as a result of recall bias (McPhail & Haines, 2010; Spencer et al., 2017; Topp et al., 2019). Studies have found that 40% to 80% of medical data provided by clinicians is forgotten by patients almost instantly. Nearly half of the information recalled by patients also tends to be incorrect (Anderson et al., 1979; Kessels, 2003). Age, stress and education level can affect a patient’s ability to remember information precisely (Birtwell & Sandberg, 2014; Burakevych et al., 2015; Kessels, 2003; Laws et al., 2018; Nguyen et al., 2018). Note sharing lets you and your colleagues rely on accurate data for care, instead of depending on guesswork.
ReferencesAnderson, J. L., Dodman, S., Kopelman, M., & Fleming, A. (1979). Patient information recall in a rheumatology clinic. Rheumatology, 18(1), 18–22. https://doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/18.1.18