Accessing Patient Data Made Easy with EHR Interoperability

Patient data with Interoperability

EHR (Electronic Health Record) interoperability allows the sharing of electronic patient data between multiple data systems and healthcare providers.

Importance of EHR Interoperability in Healthcare.

EHR Interoperability has multiple user-friendly applications that justify the importance of EHR Interoperability. EHR Interoperability provides easy, accurate, and reliable data sharing. In the modern healthcare system, organizations have to share patient data frequently, and for this purpose, they use multiple programs that make data sharing cumbersome. Interoperability allows easy, accurate, and reliable sharing of patient data so that data is easily interpretable.

EHR Interoperability increases the medical staff’s productivity and, in this way, decreases the overall operating cost of a healthcare organization. System Interoperability can increase the productivity of healthcare professionals by reducing the time they spend communicating with each other using outdated software and replacing paper documentation with digital storage of data that is easier to enter, store, and retrieve. 

Related – The role of interoperability in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

The importance of public healthcare data is undeniable in the prediction of long-term health outcomes. EHR Interoperability allows easy, fast, and accurate collection, storage, and interpretation of data from all the healthcare organizations of a country, allowing responsible authorities to retrieve data and use it for policymaking. EHR Interoperability is the most efficient technology for the collection of public health data. Due to automated data entry, it decreases the chances of error. Interoperability provides a better data flow as it enters and stores data automatically without the requirement of manual input. This data entry method is time-efficient, error-free, and easy to use.

EHR Interoperability improves the privacy of the patient as it stores digital data. Paper documents must be discarded with care, and any negligence in their disposal could leak sensitive information about a patient. In digital data, access is restricted, and data can be deleted in an error-free manner.

EHR Interoperability enhances patient satisfaction, as it provides access to patient data in a shorter time and in an efficient manner allowing healthcare professionals to analyze data more efficiently. It helps in providing specific services to the patient. In this way, interoperability enhances patient satisfaction.

Related Article: How to Replace your EHR

EHR Interoperability Challenges.

EHR Interoperability challenges involve technical and cultural difficulties, financial challenges, administrative challenges, and IT usability. Some technical challenges to EHR Interoperability are lack of standard development of the system, improper data storage, and lack of data matching between different healthcare providers. The cultural obstacles to interoperability involve facing legal hampering of patient data flow and lack of data sharing by some organizations for competitive benefits. The financial challenges that are hampering wide adaptability of the interoperability involve the cost of developing an IT system, maintaining it, and continuously upgrading it to meet the latest health IT requirements.

Administrative challenges for interoperability include requirements to acquire proper paperwork and frequent reporting for quality measures. These requirements add a high cost to the IT system of interoperability. The most hampering factor for physicians in the use of Interoperability is IT usability. Lack of interaction between interface developers and end-users of the system makes it difficult to design an easily understandable interface and compatible with day-to-day use.

Also Read: The Path to Interoperability

EHR Interoperability Solutions.

EHR Interoperability solutions for challenges involve Legislation changes, Changes in governmental administrative, reporting requirements, and development of an efficient interface. Legislations changes are required to allow free and seamless data flow. All the healthcare organizations should be bound to acquire, maintain, and provide data of each administered patient in a standard manner. Changes in governmental administrative and reporting requirements are necessary to decrease the cost of interoperability for hospitals. The interaction between developers and end-users can achieve the development of an efficient interface. This kind of interaction is not very much difficult as multiple EHR compatible device providers can work with physicians to develop such an interface in a short time.  

How to Improve Interoperability in Healthcare?

Some steps that will help to improve interoperability in the healthcare system involve. The involvement of representatives of patients and their families in the decision-making committees is required to eliminate confidential issues in unrestricted patient data sharing. All healthcare organizations should sit together to build a single platform for data sharing instead of using multiple platforms and add-ons.

All healthcare providers should use a standardized application programming interface (API), which allows different systems to interact and make it easy to provide interoperability. EHR providers and physicians can work together to develop an EMR system that will improve usability and interoperability. The government should provide incentives to hospitals for providing free access to data and penalties for hampering free access. Lack of trust among healthcare stockholders is a significant problem, and life science companies’ involvement can solve this problem. 

Why Telehealth is Here to Stay?

Female doctor talking with colleagues through a video call with a laptop in the consultation.

COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized the face of medical practice worldwide. Although telemedicine has been known for years, it has recently changed from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” necessity. Telehealth is in the spotlight now, helping medical specialists connect to their patients, provide online consultation, reach an expert diagnosis, and triage patients’ illnesses. Although telemedicine is having its moment right now, it is not a flash and is here to stay! According to a Global Market Insights’ report, the value of the telemedicine market will reach $175.5 by 2026. These statistics indicate the future prospects of telehealth.

The shift of telehealth from a “luxury” to a “staple” healthcare essential owes to many reasons as follows:

Patient Demand:

It has become clear that patients often choose virtual visits with their doctors when offered the opportunity. It’s easy and offers easier connections to their care provider. In fact, according to a report by The American Journal of Managed Care, telemedicine has increasingly become a popular option for patients relative to conventional office visits. When physicians search for ways to optimize and improve patient care, telemedicine will be important.

Convenience and Flexibility:

There is no doubt that telemedicine is very useful for physicians and patients alike.  It allows doctors the ability to handle their patient schedule more effectively and needs a shorter time period commitment from patients as they will attend the appointment from home. Telemedicine saves time with patients traveling to and from the Doctor’s office. And it allows doctors to spend more time diagnosing and treating patients.

Technology Continues to Improve:

The pace of development in healthcare is accelerating, and the pandemic is only accelerating this trend. As digital health companies continue to make efforts to improve their tools and offerings, we can expect further advances in virtual care products. With revolutionary features and improved capabilities that integrate patient reviews, these tools will increasingly be a realistic choice for more forms of healthcare appointments even after the pandemic subsides.

Reimbursement and Regulation:

Although the telemedicine payment mechanism is somewhat unclear for certain providers, it is likely that insurance agencies will be required to respond to the increasing need for such appointments and to refund them accordingly. Healthcare providers are expected to continue to develop permanent telemedicine services for patients living in remote areas or who actually want to access virtual care.

Health Equity:

Access to healthcare is not uniformly spread across the United States In remote and underserved areas, the closest clinic facility may be hours away. Previous to the pandemic, telemedicine technologies allowed patients to have access to high-speed Internet access. Unfortunately, there are still significant disparities in broadband Internet access based on age, income, education and race.

Myths and Facts To Know About EHR Software

ehr-myths-and-facts

Despite the rising power of EHR, they are still misunderstood by many practitioners

Over the years, the growth of EHR software has undoubtedly made it a popular choice for replacing time-consuming and tedious paper-based record-keeping procedures at hospitals and private practices. Many recent studies and surveys reflect how an EHR system streamlined workflows and made it more comfortable, error-free, and efficient. However, some common EHR myths exist and restrict medical professionals from making a switch to modern technology.

Let’s bust these common myths and explore some EMR facts to determine how an efficient EHR system would help your practice.

Myth: Implementing EHR is expensive

Fact: Implementation costs are often the biggest hindrance in switching to modern technology, and many medical professionals and practices believe EHR is expensive too. However, many certified systems exist today that are quite affordable, and EHRs are quickly becoming more of an industry standard. The growing competition among the EHR software vendors is also why prices are coming down, and even the solo and private medical practitioners can afford EHR now.

Myth: EHR Software makes patient/employee communications mechanical and unfriendly

Fact: There’s nothing like healthcare professionals feeding data into an EHR system that feels too mechanical and can deteriorate their relationship with the patients. Talking to the patients and explaining that the new system would help them keep accurate medical information more securely. It’s worth conveying to the patients that with EMR, there won’t be any flipping test results, missing charges, or similar mistakes in the future. Once the patients understand the importance of the new system, they’d be more than happy to take time and provide information that would keep their medical record up-to-date.

Related Article: How To Replace Your EHR Software

Myth: Spending time on the computer can lead to low face-to-face physician/patient interactions

Fact: Well, that’s not the case. When physicians and medical professionals can have instant access to medical records, they can spare more time for direct, face-to-face interactions. They can listen to the patient more without having to divert attention by sorting through the paperwork.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Find Specialty Specific EHR Software Here>>

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Myth: EHRs are more of a security risk

Fact: An EHR system can make the patient records more secure by keeping everything in a cloud. The HIPAA laws cover the electronically protected health information (ePHI) of the patients. Besides, the cloud-based servers put in careful, tactical efforts (like data encryption, risk analyses, etc.) to ensure that they keep the patient’s ePHI private and secure.

Myth: It’s hard to learn and use an EHR System

Fact: The first EHR’s systems used to be quite technical and challenging to navigate for an average user. However, the growth of EHR software has changed the entire landscape. Today, EHR systems are designed for various industries like chiropractic care, mental health, and eye care rather than just the hospital settings. With the evolving technology, the EHR systems are continuously becoming more user-friendly. They have become more intuitive and easy-to-navigate.

With these EHR myths busted, you should carefully consider investing in an EHR system. This investment can potentially lead to high ROI, along with some added benefits such as better patient engagement.

How To Replace Your EHR Software

replacing new ehr

Replacing Your EHR Is Easier Than You Think

In an ideal world, your EHR system would allow you to quickly and efficiently share, search and add to patient records. But this is not the experience of many private practices. Instead, EMR software is clunky, loads slowly, and has an unpleasant interface that makes it difficult to use. 

Many primary care providers and medical specialists assume that this is just the way that it has to be. These systems, they come to believe, are inherently inefficient and difficult-to-use. 

The truth, however, is that there is no fundamental reason why medical records systems software has to be different from any other type of software. It can be fast, reliable, and efficient. And, importantly, it can be specialty-specific, boosting your workflow. 

Switching software is the best way to improve your experience. And it is easier than you think. 

How To Switch EMR Software

Switching to a new EMR system for private or small practice is nothing like as tricky as you might think. Most providers offer tools that make setup easy and ensure that you remain compliant with existing data protection laws. 

Find Software Providers Who Offer A Comprehensive Service

Selling EHR software loaded with features is necessary for upgrading your systems, but it by no means sufficient. Vendors not only need to provide you with solutions that meet your particular needs, but also assistance with implementation – the trickiest part of the process. 

Finding a comprehensive provider is, therefore, a top priority. You want to find a brand that offers the solutions you need and supports you as you install and operate it on your devices. 

Learn Everything You Can About Data Migration

Medical ehr data migration

The most challenging part of any switching to any new electronic medical record system is transferring all your old data to the new environment. Educating yourself about this process, therefore, can help significantly. The more organized and seamless your existing records, the simpler it will be to move them from the old system to the new, without losing any vital information. 

Quality vendors provide expert oversight for the entire process, ensuring that you accommodate any recording idiosyncrasies of prior systems. These professionals secure the transition to the new environment, making sure that your data maintains its integrity every step of the way. At the end of the endeavour, both specialists and non-specialists will be able to access the data they need intuitively.

Look For EHR Vendors Who Offer Guaranteed Support

Installing specialty specific EHR software and migrating your existing data is important. But as experienced practitioners know, patient record-keeping systems require ongoing maintenance and support. They don’t look after themselves. Clinicians, therefore, need to choose EHR providers who offer ongoing support and updates over-the-air. 

EHR Vendors quick support

Any solutions installed must avoid creating additional overheads or IT problems that take up their time. 

Reliability is a key issue here too. You need to ask the provider about how much uptime they can provide. And you need to discuss with them how fast they can resolve technical issues, should you experience crashes, data loss or other problems with your system. The more guarantees they can offer you (such as minimum downtime), the better the service, and the more likely you will be able to meet the needs of your patients. 

Create A Staff Training Schedule

While EHR providers do a lot to make the transition as seamless as possible, staff will inevitably require some training. As with any new system, it takes time to understand both the interface and the necessary steps to remain compliant. Practices, therefore, need to make advanced plans for training, ensuring that they have a schedule in place that they can deploy the moment the software arrives.

Remember, members of your organization will use the software differently. Physicians, for instance, will primarily use it for calling up patient records and creating new entries. Reception staff, however, may just need to be able to send patient records to various healthcare providers. Offering separate training sessions, therefore, might help. 

EHR training

Schedule Your Transition Wisely

Medical practices are busy operations, continually dealing with patients, often seven days per week. Finding time, therefore, to schedule your EHR transition can be tricky. The best time is off-peak when things are quiet – perhaps later in the evening or early in the morning at the weekend. 

Once you’ve fixed a date for the transition, book fewer appointments (or none at all if you can manage it), to give you space to get up to speed with the new system. 

Speciality EMR software and its contribution to proper medical services

medical-professionals

The success of an electronic medical record software stands in its compatibility with the practice. It must coordinate with the workflow and contain particular content for the specialty. In this way, the system will be easy to learn and it won’t make unnecessary actions. 

With specialty EHR software, practices save both time and money, as they reduce and also improve the administrative actions, which, according to the studies, represent nearly 25% of all hospital spendings in the US. 

The benefits of using medical software systems are more precisely described further in the article. 

Combining Specialty EHR & Specialists: 

EMR systems can be specialized in a singular domain, like Cardiology. Within cardiology, doctors can be divided into multiple categories, depending on what they are practising most often and the software needs to focus on the specific needs of each of them. If we consider for example a practice specialized in gynaecology, we must take into account that the practice needs to be effective in organising bills for smears, but not for prostate exams. Therefore, specialty-specific templates should determine due dates, have ultrasound analysis abilities, and track contraception records. This means that specialty-specific EHR software must accommodate every aspect of the practice, for it to achieve the highest standards of healthcare. 

Smooth workflows and procedures 

Healthcare environments are usually dynamic and EMR systems can make the processes a lot smoother and easier to adapt to. Specialty-Specific EHR software offers a standardized system for keeping top performance and reduces failures and redundancies, which is a great hand of help for the personnel. The staff can focus more on the patient, which will decrease the waiting time. 

Improved organisation 

Due to processes automatization (scheduling, billing due dates and patient tracking), practices can concentrate more on the services they are providing, rather than on the administrative issues. 

Better billing procedures 

The software comes with medical billing characteristics that help billers work diligently with the patients’ financial history and fill in gaps to lessen errors. This improves employee’s work and also hurries the entire process up, reducing rejected claims that often lead to costly suspensions. 

Flawless documentation 

Hand-written notes are a problem in many ways, including difficulties in reading and time spent during the process. EHR efficiently reduces errors and eases document reading and completing. 

Quality care is the primary focus 

While the software does almost every administrative task, the staff can be more careful with the patients, forgetting about the burdensome paperwork they needed to complete. 

Simpler and more effective scheduling 

Scheduling and calendar tools will allow the team to make appointments and calendar arrangements without much trouble and some of the systems will even include warnings that will notify when a balance is due or when the medical staff needs to address urgent patient concerns. 

Higher accuracy 

Contact information, as well as any other necessary data, is easily updated and features like copy functions, dictating and transcribing or reminders help the clinic or hospital achieve higher accuracy. 

Versatile technology 

EHR software is able to manage a lot of challenges and functions. The technology is scalable because its storage and processing capacities are unlimited, unlike traditional storage rooms. 

When we think about specialty software, EMR for small practice is just as efficient as EMR for private practice, as it adapts to each company’s requirements. 

Patient and providers are more satisfied 

Specialty-specific software is fulfilling for both the patient and the provider. As previously demonstrated, the software makes the administrative work more efficient, which will further benefit the actual work of the medical team. For patients, it is a huge benefit that the doctors can access their records anytime and so easily, as they will be able to offer proper urgent medication. 

Hence, every specialty has unique requirements for each aspect: medical billing, practice management and other administrative issues. Healthcare providers are in search of customizable systems that will help them achieve their goals and that won’t tangle them with useless services and technologies. The Specialty EHR Software offers personalized services for any particular specialty and contributes to a better patient-provider relationship. 

How EHR/EMR Software Can Benefit Your Practice

emr-software-benefits-data

Electronic medical records are no new product in health IT. The government has taken several steps to ensure EMRs are being used to their full potential, from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Each Act comes with its own requirements: meaningful use, quality reports, etc.

Though these are designed to support and improve healthcare, practices are struggling and providers are beginning to lose morale. Despite the hefty costs, it’s important to remember that there are several merits of investing in an EMR software for a medical practice:

Enhance practice workflow: The biggest benefit EMRs provide is their ability to improve efficiency. With e-prescription services, quicker turnaround on lab results, and fewer errors in data, practices are able to increase their productivity and minimize costs of extra personnel, storage areas, etc.

Doctor in medical team discussing patient report at tablet computer in hospital

Enable quality care: The smoother a practice runs, the better services it can offer. Features such as patient portals allow patients to have their questions and concerns addressed promptly due to direct contact with their physicians. Some EMR systems also give providers access to patient records from anywhere, making remote monitoring that much easier.

Family consulting with a doctor

Expand physician coordination: Some patients require care from multiple healthcare providers across various practices and it’s vital for communication among these providers to be timely and effective. EMRs make patient data easily available for physicians so they can be sure to have all necessary information, such as drug allergies to avoid incompatible medications, and lab results to avoid repeat tests.

Encourage involvement: One of the most valuable advantages of EMRs is motivating patients to be more involved in their medical care. This helps patients feel more comfortable and reassured regarding their health and also keeps them informed on which habits they should improve and/or change to maintain their wellness.

Ensure correct information: With overall improved efficiency, providers can also confirm that they are accurately diagnosing patients. Better outcomes allow patients to feel safe and grow with trust between patients and their physicians. Decreased liability and lower risk is also a bonus for the practice.

EMRs will help to cultivate a practice and bring in revenue. If providers can make it past Medicaid reimbursements and meaningful use stages, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Financing vs. Paying Cash for your EMR investment

Financing vs. Paying Cash for your EMR investment

This question often arises: How should I pay for this EMR solution investment?

The discussion can easily begin with the question: Where am I in my practice? A physician just getting started in a new practice has different financial considerations than that of long-term, established practice. There are also many factors between the just getting started and well established. So, with this thought in mind, where do you begin the process? Outlay cash or finance? An argument can be made for the decision on either side.

Before serious consideration into this matter, please consult your own certified financial advisor.

The Pros and Cons of financing:

The cost of money. Investing cash while depreciating assets.

Example: The price of $20,000 over 5 years, (estimate).

The investment of $20,000 over five years can grow by about $9,000 assuming an annual return of 8%. $20,000 can become $29,000

The interest paid on $20,000 over the same five (5) year period can cost over $4,000 dollars assuming an interest rate of 8%. The cost of $20,000 can now go up to over $24,000.

Medical stethoscope and dollar bills

Depending on the financial status of your practice, the facts and figures demonstrated by the financial institution can help to determine your best choice.

There are many different financial institutions and varieties of financial products. The choices and rate options can be confusing as well. Payment terms can be negotiated and no penalties for early payment can help to guide you in the process of making a decision.

It may also be important to consider the benefits of the Section 179 tax code. This new law, created in 2003, allows medical offices to write-off up to $100,000 of computer software/hardware expenses in the first year of ownership, even when purchased under a lease or financing agreement. Before 2003 if the property for business had a useful life of more than one year, the cost had to be spread across several tax years as depreciation with a portion of the cost deducted each year.

Under the new law, there is a way to immediately receive these income tax benefits in one tax year. The provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 179 allow a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation to fully expense tangible property in the year it is purchased. Read more information on the benefits of the Section 179 code.

To speak with an EMR Experts consultant regarding electronic medical record software or financing options please complete our Contact Us Form

How to purchase the right EMR Software for your practice

purchasing-ehr-software

Implementing an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software in your office can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your practice’s success. Unfortunately, buying the wrong EMR can be disastrous. To buy the right EMR you need to be able to see past the smoke and mirrors. Relying solely on your EMR vendor to make the right hardware and implementation recommendations can be a big mistake. Here are some tips you can use to help ensure a successful EMR implementation.

Set realistic goals. What do you wish to gain out of an EMR? Many offices purchase EMR software in hopes that it will automatically provide them with all the benefits that were promised to them. The right EMR software can help you reduce your number of staff, reduce your expenses, reduce medical errors and reduce documentation time. To realize all these benefits you need to set milestones and implement the right plan.

Perform a cost-benefit analysis. All offices work differently and have different inefficiencies. It’s important to have realistic expectations of what type of Return on Investment (ROI) can be expected. It’s important to look into these items before you begin looking at vendors so that you have an idea of what type of budget you will have available for your EMR as the cost of EMR software (not including hardware, implementation time and training) can range between $1000 and $45,000 and there is no silver bullet.

Medical stethoscope and dollar bills

Seek out unbiased sources of information. Distilling fact from fiction in the medical software industry can be difficult. Even many of the awards that are given to the different vendors for their products are often very biased. The internet offers many unbiased information sources on EMR. You may also want to consider bringing in the expertise of an IT Company or EMR consultant to help guide you through the process of selecting the right vendor.

Leveraging hardware to improve your EMR functionality. It’s a great thing when you have technology on your side to manage your patient’s records and become more efficient. To do this it’s imperative to select the right hardware based on your office’s needs and user experience. Involve the right IT company from the beginning to ensure a successful implementation.

For a FREE demonstration of our Electronic Medical Record Software please complete our Contact Us Form