- What information does an electronic health record (EHR) contain?
- Benefits of Electronic Health Records implementation
- Integration of an off-the-shelf EHR/EMR solution
- Integrating EHR/EMR with other healthcare providers
Health management systems and other e-health applications have redefined medical services and brought innovations into the daily practice of healthcare providers. One such technology is electronic health records (EHRs). They have replaced outdated systems containing patient information and are at the top level in the hierarchy of electronic medical records (EMRs).
If you decide to know more about the tips on making EHR/EMR integration, let us begin with an explanation of the main terms. An EMR is the digital equivalent of a paper record at a doctor’s office containing general patient information including treatment and medical history collected by individual medical practice. Using a simple analogy, EMR is a chapter in a patient’s medical history, while EHR is the whole book with the full story, reference index, and illustrations.
What information does an electronic health record (EHR) contain?
Before diving into issues with the benefits of EHR implementation and the process of its integration with your current medical software, we need to figure out what kind of medical data is used in the electronic health record system.
An EHR contains patient health information such as:
- Administrative and billing data
- Patient information (demographics)
- Progress notes
- Vital signs
- Medical histories (medical information)
- Medications (prescriptions)
- Immunization dates
- Radiology images
- Lab and test results
Benefits of Electronic Health Records implementation
EMR/EHR systems have revolutionized health information management, which is the way patient records are recorded and processed. Likewise, if you are using the Smart Hospital System for your business, you are collecting a lot of data from different devices, and the need for an EHR / EMR system becomes vital.
They allow them to structure the medical records for better care while:
- Creating a unified 360-degree profile of patients and enabling secure access to it at the point of care for the patients and healthcare providers. Also, collecting and storing patient health information in electronic databases enables clinicians to keep track of a patient’s conditions over time.
- Saving caregivers’ time thanks to more complete and clear patient charts.
- Improving information access makes for safer and more reliable medication prescriptions.
- Enabling faster and more efficient care due to easy and structured data access and improved accuracy and clarity of medical records.
- Providing clinicians with tools and knowledge bases for more accurate diagnoses, reducing the number of medical errors, and providing safer and more effective prescribing.
- Reducing delays in treatment, and making patients well informed to make better decisions.
It will streamline the workflow of the medical practice while:
- Facilitating interactions between the patients and clinicians during treatments and preventive care. Promoting patient participation can encourage healthier lifestyles and more frequent use of preventative care.
- Improving the standards and general approach to privacy and security of patient data.
- Boosting the overall performance of medical practices and clinics, enabling cutting-edge digital health care to be provided.
- Decreasing administrative burdens that are stifling the joy of practice and creating physician well being with the help of innovative tools.
And it optimizes costs and increases added value while:
- Reducing costs through automation of manual tasks.
- Reducing duplicate testing, saving patients and provider’s time, money, and trouble.
- Building a solution tied to the needs of the specific medical practice and helping the organization to provide new services.
- Helping to give patients treatment that is more effective and better aligned to the patients’ needs, thus increasing patient satisfaction.
- Enabling digital transformation and eliminating old technologies will result in lesser IT support costs.
Integration of an off-the-shelf EHR/EMR solution
If an off-the-shelf EHR solution is selected, the process of implementation and integration has the following stages:
- Planning: At this stage, you outline your organization’s goals, document your current processes and workflow, identify what the EHR software needs to solve, and list all mandatory integrations the EHR software must provide.
- Selecting a vendor: This is when you ask prospective vendors all the questions you have related to the functionality of their systems.
- Contracting with a vendor.
- Implementing and adopting an EHR.
- Using your EHR.
- Optimizing or replacing your EHR.
When selecting a prospective vendor, it is necessary to have all relevant information to know if the solution is a match.
Here are some questions to ask EHR vendors before making a decision:
- Does the platform integrate with other systems and what integrations are available?
- What privacy/security measures does your EHR take to protect the practice and its patients?
- Is your EHR certified for meaningful use?
- Does it work on mobile devices?
- What are the features of the EHR system?
- Is the system configurable to meet customization needs and at what cost?
- How does this system help with the patient flow?
- How often is the software updated, how are updates rolled out and how often are new features released?
- How long will it take to implement?
- What training do you provide during and after implementation?
- How is data migrated from previous systems and does it come at an extra cost?
- How do you keep data secure?
- What is the startup cost and what are the recurring costs?
Based on the information we have, some common technical problems that medical practices face when integrating stand-alone software include:
- Importing and exporting of lab results
- Visualization of documents/results in a convenient way
- Unstable connection to a cloud service
- Integration with other software solutions
- Lack of healthcare data analytics.
Electronic health records can be a valuable tool for health information management, and they can be integrated with other advanced features to improve the efficiency of care and add value.
Integrating EHR/EMR with other healthcare providers
EHR/EMR integrators can leverage the benefits of new technologies and give care providers a chance to offer their patients more services and enrich their staffing options for care delivery. For example, the project currently developed by Archer Software, LayerJot, is a platform for creating computer vision applications that can be trained for a specific field with basic functions such as recognition of objects in a certain space, counting of objects, performing associated actions when finding the object, etc. For the Stanford medical facility, we trained the system to recognize medical appliances, which significantly simplifies preparation for surgery. Such a system can be used for various tasks where object recognition and counting is necessary for making reports.
Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring are a very promising area for EHR/EMR integration especially taking into account the current pandemic that made many offline visits simply dangerous for certain kinds of patients (e.g. elderly patients with chronic conditions). This area presents some challenges for integration for remote monitoring is sometimes performed with the help of certified medical devices, which allow for getting timely raw data of good quality, but also with the help of smartphones and wearables which can send data slowly and is sometimes of poor quality. Based on our experience with the Bicovery project, we can say that using such data sources requires additional algorithms to improve data quality.
Archer Software has over 20 years of experience in healthcare IT and our portfolio includes mobile applications, web services, online platforms, and software in the healthcare industry.
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to evaluate your project and get a custom and fully secure solution that meets the needs of your business.