How Third-Party EMR Integration Improves Patient Outcomes

Oct 4, 2021 8:30:00 PM

EHR Telehealth Integration

Healthcare organizations looking to optimize patient outcomes are increasingly adopting Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software. In fact, EMR is now virtually an integral part of healthcare and a widely agreed-upon standard. Taking full advantage of this technology requires proper EMR integrations with third-party ancillary platforms and systems.

Many healthcare providers find EMR software detrimental to their operations despite the many advantages it provides. This is mainly due to the lack of proper know-how about interoperability standards. Additionally, there is a need for a comprehensive knowledge transfer about data transport protocols.

This article describes how EMR integration with disparate platforms is essential for the smooth flow of clinical data and coordination between interdependent systems. But first, we discuss the importance and relevance of EMR for healthcare providers and patients alike.

Significance Of EMR In Healthcare

Medical organizations produce immense quantities of sensitive data that are pivotal to the patients' treatment and associated outcomes. Healthcare systems that integrate EMR software don't just have the capability to store patient treatment records, test sequences, and charts; but these systems also provide ease in accessing, managing, and retrieving this patient data. Healthcare practitioners have all the data readily accessible whenever needed. Organizations can vastly cut down costs, reduce charting errors and eliminate physical paperwork with these systems.

Interoperability With Healthcare APIs

EMR integration prioritizes the interoperability of various third-party applications and platforms over anything else. In fact, dedicated interoperable systems serve as intermediate repositories that accumulate vital clinical data from disparate systems and platforms.

As per HealthIT.Gov, since 2017, clinical organizations have massively relied on several third-party providers to carry out tasks associated with analytics, biometric monitoring, billing, and lab interfacing. Therefore, there needs to be proper communication and the seamless flow of data between these third-party applications and the EMR system.

Clinical interoperability of one system with another is ensured with a robust healthcare Application Programming Interface (API). Based on the data relevance, an API can facilitate the unidirectional or bidirectional transfer of information.

Healthcare APIs provide a unified framework for communication between numerous disconnected silos. Caregivers, vendors, and various other stakeholders can share health information to close the disconnect between the silos. Operators can stream data in one of two ways:

  • Patient-Facing Open APIs

These APIs facilitate the caregiver's access to the patient data. The patient decides what can be seen and what can be communicated to the other side of the EMR system or the third-party application. 

Access points define how a caregiver or healthcare provider can aggregate and share patient data across departments. EMR vendors are responsible for the creation of appropriate APIs. The healthcare providers are tasked with making the patient data available to third-party systems.

  • System-Integrated APIs

Clinical data in healthcare ecosystems continue to be communicated via Health Level 7 messages on top of TCP/IP protocols. However, APIs offer a more accessible framework for data transfer that encourages increased interoperability. Once internal interoperability is achieved, it opens up possibilities to make external optimization seamless.

For smooth integration across all kinds of medical systems, there needs to be increased API standardization. New healthcare programming interfaces like FHIR API can replace outdated formats like HL7. This would enhance backward compatibility as well to reduce issues related to the growth of healthcare APIs.

Increased Standardization Of Healthcare APIs

If healthcare organizations implement read-only APIs for patient-facing applications they can pave the way for more standardized EMR solutions. These APIs must provide access to all the data types mentioned in the electronic summary of the Continuity of Care Documents (CCD).

Compatible standards between different medical systems would ensure a more meaningful exchange of patient and organizational data. Predictive analytics and population health management can be facilitated as well. 

Every third-party platform or system integrating with the organization's EMR should have a practice-specific engine. This is crucial to enable the smooth functioning of hybrid integration environments.

Essential Third-Party Systems That Combine With EMR

There is a varied array of systems that add value to any healthcare organization's practice if integrated with its EMR. Based on the unique workflow, the kind of services on offer, and patient needs, the following are some potential EMR integrations:

  • Telehealth

Remote patient care is one of the most talked-about areas in medicine, especially amidst COVID-19's logistical restrictions. A telehealth EMR integration can ensure optimal virtual care without any disruption in the clinical workflow. An end-to-end bidirectional interface ensures the uninterrupted flow of patient data.

Practitioners can use this integration to enter and maintain patient information very easily. This indexed patient information can come in handy while conducting live sessions with patients right from the EMR. Diagnoses, prescriptions, and medication can all be carried out in this integrated system.

  • Lab Information System

EMR integration with a Laboratory Information System (LIS) circumvents issues related to receiving error-prone and time-consuming lab orders. The whole process becomes streamlined and the entire lab process from order generation to reception moves with ease.

Under this system, practitioners have equipped to quickly access and process lab results. This reduces the scope for error and with an uninterrupted flow of data and faster diagnosis. Code and billing validation processes also get a degree of ease.

  • Clinical Trials Management

A Clinical Trials Management System (CTMS) integrated with EMR facilitates the modernization of biotech and pharmaceutical corporations. These systems contain information about a patient's clinical trial enrollment details. 

Before they enroll in such trials, it is paramount that their medical history is known beforehand to ensure maximum patient safety. Hybridization of CTMS with EMR allows holistic access for optimal accuracy in patient records.

  • Medical Device Integration

Medical Device Integration (MDI) involves the integration of EMR at the point of care. Keeping track of biomedical devices from production to service was historically managed on monolithic internal systems. With EMR, ORs, ICUs, and other hospital wards could manage data around smart beds, anesthesia carts, finger cuffs, and ventilators more efficiently.

EMRs ease the recording and inputting readings through MDIs as well. A variety of EMR solutions can be integrated with vendor-agnostic MDIs to enhance interoperability in the domain of MDIs.

ALSO READ: 10 Top Technologies For A Seamless EHR Integration

Reap The Benefits Of Integrating Your Biomedical System With EMR

Integrating varied systems into your primary EMR may be a time-consuming task, but the rewards far outweigh the efforts involved. Operational efficiency and patient outcomes are enhanced quite significantly.

You need precise expertise and a dedicated guide to properly implement your EMR integration solution to avoid data errors and disruptions. Improve your bottom line and clinical workflow with Daffodil's state-of-the-art EMR Integration Services.

Topics: Healthcare

Allen Victor

Written by Allen Victor

Writes content around viral technologies and strives to make them accessible for the layman. Follow his simplistic thought pieces that focus on software solutions for industry-specific pressure points.