Epic Systems Corporation is one of the leading medical software companies in the United States. According to some estimates, the company’s software platforms held the medical records of more than 70% of the patients nationwide. So, it should come as no surprise that there is high demand for Epic integration services in healthcare.
An Epic EHR integration enables other third-party medical software platforms to exchange patient data seamlessly. This accelerates the speed of all workflows, boosts the staff’s productivity, and facilitates better data security. All of this ultimately leads to improved patient care and better revenues for healthcare organizations.
What are the Benefits of Epic Integration?
Integrating Epic EHR systems into an organization’s systems offers many benefits in terms of clinical and administrative processes. Doctors, nurses, the front-office staff, and other professionals can perform their tasks better with an Epic EHR integration. Let’s examine its many benefits in detail –
1. Aggregation of Patient Records
Increasing digitization would mean that patients’ medical information would be stored in multiple software platforms. Medical care depends upon the reliability of the information stored in the records. In other words, it must be updated. Keeping patients’ clinical data up-to-date often requires drawing relevant information from different sources like other medical systems. These could include a radiology information system, laboratory software, medical wearables, and even software for remote health monitoring systems.
The biggest advantage of Epic EMR integration is the ability to work with integrated healthcare solutions. This makes it easy to exchange data among different systems.
2. Data Management
Patient medical data garnered from various sources over time needs to be collated in an organized way for clinical processes. Moreover, hospitals and clinics must also maintain the necessary administrative documentation about their operations. These can include consent forms, disclosures, invoices, and so on. An Epic EMR integration with existing platforms makes it easier for organizations to manage all their documentation.
Epic systems include tools for indexing, searching, and managing all the data and documentation for healthcare providers. Not only does this simplify day-to-day administration, but it also helps with regulatory compliance.
3. Lowered Operational Overhead
The larger a medical organization gets, the greater the operational overhead it needs to bear. But Epic EMR systems help to facilitate seamless data exchange among all interconnected systems. This makes it easy for different departments and staffers to exchange necessary information. As a result, there is little to no need to print out documentation or charts, file them, or manage them. Moreover, a relatively smaller staff can carry out larger workloads for activities like appointment management, medical billing, coding, and payment processing.
So, the absence of a need to handle physical documentation or paperwork, coupled with higher staff productivity, lowers the day-to-day overhead.
4. Workflow Automation
The most obvious result of using EHR integration solutions is the digitization of many processes and workflows. Activities like insurance verification, data entry, and claims scrubbing are significantly accelerated due to automation. The front-office staff can view a person’s medical records and verify their coverage with some clicks on a screen. Additionally, updating a patient’s records after tests or scans happens automatically after the results are generated on the corresponding laboratory or radiology platforms. Furthermore, the billing staff can fetch the necessary information about a patient’s encounter and code it with some clicks.
Implementing automated healthcare solutions becomes easier since healthcare integration would result in a broad organization-wide information system.
Epic integration services enable a healthcare organization to institute processes and protocols for better compliance. Since Epic integration would connect multiple software systems, organizations can engender better compliance in their day-to-day operations. This is achieved mainly through restricting access to patient data for each department. In other words, each staffer can only use a portion of patient data needed for their tasks.
In addition to simplifying data security, an Epic EMR system also includes features that support auditing. This helps administrators ensure that all protocols are followed since any deviation would be highlighted in the audit trails. As a result, medical centers can better comply with regulations and avoid liability.
Steps For a Successful Epic Integration
The process of integrating an Epic EMR system with custom healthcare software solutions involves a series of steps –
1. Verify Epic Compatibility
One of the first steps towards integrating Epic medical software is to ensure compatibility with the sites from which the relevant data will be collected. This is because Epic does not work with some of them and would impede data exchange. As a result, patients’ medical records might need to be completed, leading to problems in clinical care.
2. Account Creation
After verifying compatibility, the next step is to create an account at Uscdi.epic.com. This is necessary for accessing the API key and confirming one’s identity. Moreover, it also ensures protection for the data transmitted. In other words, it is for ensuring that the interconnected software systems can communicate with each other securely.
3. Endpoint Confirmation
Epic integration aims to facilitate a fast and easy exchange of medical data. This includes medical histories, health plans, reports of tests and scans, allergies, immunizations, and so forth. To have this data in one repository, it is important to ensure all interconnected systems exchange it. This is where the API endpoints are needed to ensure data can be received without hassle.
After receiving the API key, it is important to test it to ascertain if all endpoints are working as they should. This ensures that the final integrated system will function as intended for all the component platforms.
5. Finalize the Integration
This is the final step in the overall process of Epic integration. Include calls to the API in the program code of the software platform using the endpoints. Subsequently, running one final test of the whole system is important to ensure seamless data exchange. After that, the organization can operate the integrated system.
How Does Integration Improve Patient Care?
As mentioned, integrated healthcare systems have multiple individual medical software applications working in unison. This means a provider can pull up a radiology scan once the results are out and diagnose the problem. Subsequently, they can prescribe the necessary treatments to the patient, after which the billing staff can obtain the necessary billing information.
The ease of information exchange ensures that providers have access to the complete medical histories of patients they see. Moreover, they can also focus more on patient care than office administration. In the case of private practices, a single provider can have software for EHR, appointment management, coding, and billing integrated into their practice management platform. This would enable the provider to devote more time to patients.
Epic integration solutions ensure maximum productivity while minimizing errors. This eventually results in better patient care in the long run.
Epic integration lets organizations streamline both clinical as well as administrative activities. Moreover, it also boosts productivity, patient experience, and long-term revenues while helping with regulatory compliance. But the biggest benefit of software integration is the ability to adapt to newer innovations and technologies for healthcare.
The healthcare industry is set to experience big changes this decade with the adoption of advanced telehealth solutions and artificial intelligence. Whatever the changes, integration will be the key to leveraging the benefits of innovations and channeling the same toward improving care.
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Written by Riken Shah linkedin
Riken's work motto is to help healthcare providers use technological advancements to make healthcare easily accessible to all stakeholders, from providers to patients. Under his leadership and guidance, OSP Labs has successfully developed over 600 customized software solutions for 200+ healthcare clients across continents.