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Macy Faculty Scholar Sarah Peyre on Patient-Centered Technology

New York, NY

Sarah Peyre, EdD, of the University of Rochester Schools of Medicine and Nursing, discusses her field research and training modules to make health care technology more humanistic and patient-centered.

What are you working on as a Macy Faculty Scholar and why is it important?

Technology plays an increasingly important role in health care today. I want to look at how we are making sure that humanism stays in the driver’s seat with the integration of technology and, most importantly, how we are keeping our care patient-centered. We need to ensure our patients are fully engaged with technology in their own care as well.

As a Macy Faculty Scholar I am implementing a thorough needs assessment to understand what different health care stakeholders (patients, learners, etc.) want out of technology and identify strategies to increase patient centered utilization of the electronic medical record.

How will you look at this?
My field research began in the fall of 2014 and I started with focus groups of patients and families. In the focus groups I ask patients what their expectations are around technology and in particular, the electronic medical record (EMR). Patients tell me their stories and experiences, both good and bad, and describe for me what they like and don’t like. This gives me the beginnings of a framework to explore how to develop an educational intervention to help both providers and patients to more effectively integrate EMR in patient care.

I am also looking to do some future observations in a community-based family medicine clinic and an inpatient cardiac setting. I want to capture all of the interprofessional education learners in their workplace and provide training in this setting so it’s not just geared toward the students or toward the faculty, but really engages the team and gets inside the culture. This will help me understand how the full health care team values and engages with technology and keeps patients at the forefront of that interaction.

EMRs can be a powerful tool for patient education—“teaching with the screen,” if you will. I’d ultimately love to teach with the screen to help health professionals understand how to turn it toward the patient and share it in a way that teaches them to be both more collaborative and more communicative.

What are you finding out thus far?
I am still in the beginning stages of my research, but I have come to find that patients are very interested in EMR and patient portals. They like today’s technology and want more of it, not less. This aligns with today’s care redesign, and the idea that the point of care is changing and not just within the four walls of a doctor’s office. People are viewing the EMR as a powerful communication tool in health care.  It leaves me to wonder about the drivers and motivation of our care teams in fully utilizing it, and/or how it changes their workplace practices and engagement with patients.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share?
When you are an educator in an academic medical center you often work on issues that are not the top priority, falling behind our clinical and research missions. The idea that an organization like the Macy Foundation has validated this important work and believes this is an issue worth the investment has been hugely validating in my local community. It has allowed me to make this work a priority, which I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. The Scholars Program is giving me the profile and ability to connect, and I already have people reaching out to me wanting to know more about the project. It is all very exciting!

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