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The healthcare industry has been undergoing digitization at a rapid pace over the last decade. Investors have poured billions of dollars into companies developing novel technologies to help providers with clinical and administrative activities. Thanks to this, there are reliable software solutions for just about every administrative activity in healthcare – scheduling appointments, verifying insurance, medical coding, billing, electronic health record, filling out claims, fetching patients’ medical histories, handling admissions, discharge, and so on.
When these applications work together, hospitals can have smooth workflows and better serve their patients. This is where an integrated healthcare system becomes indispensable. In simple words, integrated health care solutions are a comprehensive set of medical software working together seamlessly as one and exchanging information to be used for everyday operations.
As a healthcare organization grows larger, it would have to deal with a large number of patients daily. Each of those patients would have different problems and would need varying types of treatments, scans, tests, and so forth. Integrating health solutions empowers the staff to deal with things like fetching results, verifying insurance, handling billing and claims, medical records management, processing payments, etc., without using any physical documentation, pen or paper. Not only does this speed things up, but it also eliminates the chances of manual errors. It prevents the need for papers, filing, and storage, not to mention ensuring better data security.
It won’t be a stretch to say that integrated medical solutions have had a major impact on healthcare in both clinical and non-clinical aspects.
2. What are the Benefits of Interoperability?
Healthcare interoperability has paved the way for integrated medical systems at large hospitals as well as medium-sized clinics. Interoperability means that multiple medical software solutions are working together to enable the rapid exchange of necessary data. In this section, we will explore how this benefits the overall healthcare workflow.
Integrated care solutions have given rise to broad, comprehensive software systems at hospitals that boost productivity. They accomplish this by digitizing activities that used to be carried out by pen and paper and saving time and efforts of everyone involved. Healthcare providers at smaller clinics won’t have to spend money on hiring extra staff for all the manual paperwork and administrative activities when they can do most things from a single digital interface. In other words, integrated healthcare solutions enable the staff at hospitals and clinics to do more with less, literally.
Let’s explore some of the other benefits of using integrated health systems in detail –
I. Improved Care
The primary goal of hospitals is patient care. But there is a lot of information that is involved. Every patient who received any kind of care would have his or her medical records stored electronically. Doctors usually access these records to know about the patients’ histories and make informed medical decisions. Integrating healthcare solutions enable doctors to rapidly access medical histories for better clinical outcomes.
Medical records contain vital information like medication history, allergies, adverse drug interactions, medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, previous surgeries (if any), history of substance abuse (if any), and so on. Electronic medical records (EMRs) become vital for any medical procedures in case of car crashes or gunshots where the patient cannot communicate. By integrating EMR software with other systems, doctors at a hospital can rapidly access a person’s entire medical history in a few clicks and know their patient better. This helps in any treatments or surgeries.
In addition, reliable interoperability enables the use of cutting-edge technologies like healthcare analytics solutions and medical informatics. These technologies can assess historical and current medical data to reveal important patient health insights. They can pinpoint patients at higher risk of contracting diabetes, heart disease, and other problems. Such insight enables doctors to take a predictive approach to care for and avert diseases in the early stages before becoming full-blown. This leads to better clinical outcomes and even effective population health management.
II. Greater Productivity
Like every other organization, a hospital has to deal with day-to-day management activities that are not about treatments or providing care. These include handling billing, verifying insurance coverage, filling out claims, documentation, and financial management. These activities need to be done in coordination and require an exchange of patient data. There are software solutions for each of them and professionals who use them. But when used in an integrated way, they speed up all the activities since there is seamless electronic data exchange.
If these solutions are used individually, an organization only digitizes what was previously done using pen and paper. Each of the professionals handling the activities mentioned above would need to share data manually to complete a range of tasks, including patient registration, insurance verification, medical coding, billing, and claims. But with an integrated medical IT solution consisting of all the individual solutions for the tasks above, a small staff can accomplish many activities. In other words, fewer people can do more with greater speed and efficiency. So, any organization using such solutions invariably experiences greater productivity.
III. Improved Revenues
The healthcare industry is driven by revenues, just like every other industry, and it needs the money to sustain itself and run everyday operations smoothly. As mentioned above, the presence of integrated medical solutions not only speeds up the workflow but also reduces the size of the staff required to manage daily activities. When that happens, the number of patients that doctors can see each day increases, and this, combined with lowered overhead, ultimately results in greater revenues for hospitals, medium-sized clinics, and small practices.
IV. Regulatory Compliance
Medical software technologies that handle patient data are mandated by law to have a degree of security measures in place to protect the privacy and integrity of the data. It is easier for HIPAA-compliant solutions to ensure data security when they can exchange it without hassle within a closed system. Such a system ensures that only the authorized staff can access data and that there is no leakage or breaches.
3. Why is Interoperability in Healthcare Important?
There are many types of software solutions for the healthcare industry. As mentioned earlier, healthcare software has become a massive industry by itself and has rolled out some amazing solutions. But for them to be effective, they must be compatible with one another and exchange data without too much IT overhead. This section will discuss why the interoperability of different solutions is important.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the United States is in a healthcare crisis, and that is so even after excluding the recent Covid-19 pandemic. More than 40% of American adults suffer from at least one chronic disease, about 38% of adults have reported grappling with substance abuse, about one-fourth of the adult’s battle with mental health problems, and there is the looming problem of providing care to aging seniors. So, all this constitutes an overall healthcare crisis that many public health experts have been trying to find a solution to.
To add to this crisis, there are the continually rising costs of healthcare that both average Americans and policymakers have been struggling with. Tens of millions of American citizens are either uninsured or underinsured. Additionally, several million people are just one illness away from slipping into poverty. These problems also permeate into the country’s economic output, and many experts estimate that it costs the country hundreds of billions in economic losses. Moreover, the healthcare spending in the country is close to a staggering $4 trillion, which is more than the GDP of all except four countries on earth. Needless to point out, there is an urgent need to address this healthcare crisis in the country.
One way of doing it would be through healthcare interoperability. It means that different medical software solutions must be able to exchange data and be compatible with one another. People’s medical data are abundant in various electronic health records that can help doctors and policymakers take steps to improve individual clinical outcomes and even better health management for the population at large.
When a person goes to a doctor for a consultation, the doctor must be able to view his or her medical history. This contains all the information about the patient, including the history of diseases and surgeries. But since many companies make software for electronic health records, the medical staff might have difficulty retrieving it due to varying data formats. This soloing of medical data often leads to doctors making uninformed decisions, which might later lead to adverse consequences. But interoperability ensures that this data isn’t hoarded within single systems and is accessible when necessary.
The idea of telehealth has been toyed with in medical circles for more than a decade. But it took a global pandemic for everyone to realize its importance. Telehealth applications enable people to connect with doctors virtually using a smartphone or a computer and an internet connection. The patient need not even be in the same city as the doctor. This enabled numerous people from distant, underserved communities to access their needed care. Interoperability enabled the electronic medical records software to work seamlessly with telemedicine software, enabling doctors to pull up patient records during every virtual consultation. This is one of the most promising aspects of healthcare interoperability as it can enable people living in rural communities to access the care they need.
In addition to the providers, interoperability would also go a long way in helping the payers. Health plans would be assessed more effectively for their usage, reimbursements, care provided, and other parameters to help payers derive insight into their usage. This data enables them to curate plans that might be better suited to serve members.
Furthermore, yet another advantage of smooth interoperability is the availability of medical data for research. Any medical breakthrough has only been possible through research; accurate data is the backbone of any sound research. Research in the last decade has broadened our understanding of diseases like cancer, dementia, diabetes, and many more.
To sum it up, healthcare interoperability engenders effective exchange of useful data, the use of which helps all stakeholders involved – patients, providers, and payers.
4. Challenges with Healthcare Interoperability
We have talked about all the advantages of interoperability and how it helps all the organizations across the healthcare industry. While it leads to the existence of broad, inter-networked software systems at hospitals and clinics, there are unique challenges associated with interoperability. This section will discuss some of those challenges in greater detail.
Healthcare interoperability has emerged as an effective tool to harness the full potential of medical technologies. In simple words, interoperability enables data to be exchanged easily between systems, allowing professionals to work with it. Assessing medical data has revealed many insights into the nature of diseases and how they might be better treated. Moreover, it has also fueled cutting-edge research that might help cure diseases better.
However, interoperability is not without its own set of challenges. Let’s discuss them in detail –
A. Organizational Cohesion
As we have seen, medical solutions exist for all hospital administrative activities. These include medical billing, coding, insurance verification, claims, scheduling appointments, etc. While interoperability will bring better cohesion to the software solutions, the employees would also need better coordination amongst themselves for productivity. For example – the person who documents the patient visit must ensure that the people handling coding and claims get the required information on time. Additionally, the people filling out claims must follow it up or ensure that others do so.
In the absence of coordination among the staff of various departments, interoperability might not be as impactful as it should be. This problem’s size is likely proportional to the size of the hospital.
Every undertaking needs a budget, and achieving interoperability in healthcare is no different. But not all medical organizations might be in a position to integrate their medical solutions. The reasons for this could be many.
One of the major reasons for budget constraints could be the presence of older legacy systems that need modernization. In such a case, the organization would have to spend considerable money on modernizing its existing IT infrastructure and then invest some more in the subsequent integration. The migration of data from the legacy system would take considerable time and money, not to mention the IT overhead. This might not be within the reach of numerous medical organizations.
C. Data Formats
As mentioned earlier, multiple companies make and sell health tech software for various purposes. So, it should come as no surprise that their data format might vary and not be compatible with other health tech solutions. This poses a major hurdle for interoperability as it takes time and resources to ensure that the solutions can exchange data despite the incompatibility of the formats.
Radiology centers store medical images in a certain format, whereas prescriptions and pathology reports are stored in a different format. It takes effort to use standards and APIs (application programming interfaces) to ensure that different solutions can leverage interoperability and use such varying data seamlessly.
D. Data From Wearable Medical Devices
The previous decade unveiled several wearable medical technologies, such as Apple’s smartwatch and Fitbit. These enable the users to measure various vitals like heart rate, body temperature, and electrocardiogram. Such devices have become popular with aspiring athletes as well as regular people. Furthermore, companies have even rolled out garments with technology that can help patients at higher risk by capturing real-time health vitals and enabling remote patient monitoring. However, most conventional integrated healthcare systems might not be compatible with information acquired this way.
Medical integration services might have to go the extra mile to ensure that data from wearables is captured into health records for clinical purposes. Given that more and more people are using such wearable technologies, the demand for storing and processing all that will only increase. Moreover, many technologists predict that most people will be using such wearables, so integrating the data for healthcare management and the insights from the data will be a challenge.
E. Data Security
Government regulations stipulate that people’s private health information must be protected with minimum security. Suppose there is a breach of some kind or unethical use of patient data in any way, and it is later revealed that the organization didn’t comply with regulations for security. In that case, there will be serious legal consequences, including large penalties and even jail time for people who were found liable. In light of this, integrating IT healthcare solutions for a unified system might have some security loopholes that need to be addressed.
Failure to do so could prove very expensive in the event of any type of audit or data loss.
5. What are the Healthcare Interoperability Standards?
Hospitals with an integrated healthcare system in place are known to function with greater efficiency and also have a positive impact on patient care. But how does one achieve integrated health solutions? What are the things that enable multiple medical software to work as a single, cohesive health care solution? In this section, we will talk about the standards that enable these integrated medical solutions to function.
As we know, multiple healthcare software solutions need to work together to achieve the function of comprehensive, integrated healthcare software. This is accomplished with interoperability standards, and these act like a common language and set expectations for facilitating interoperability among systems. Because there are multiple solutions from different companies for testing laboratories, pharmacies, radiology laboratories, clinicians, and other administrative staff, there needs to be a way for these solutions to communicate quickly and securely.
This is where the standards of interoperability come into play.
1. Terminology Standards:
These standards are used to indicate things being communicated between senders and receivers. When health systems need to communicate with each other, it is necessary to use terminologies, and predefined code sets to accurately indicate the matter being communicated. These are some of the terminology standards used –
National Drug Code:
This code is maintained by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it provides a complete list of drugs manufactured, distributed, and sold commercially.
This standard is managed by the Radiology Society of North America and provides a common body of terms for the storage, management, and retrieval of radiological data, mostly medical scans. Healthcare organizations use this for exchanging radiology data.
SNOMED-CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms) – This facilitates the depiction of medical data for electronic medical records (EHR). It is widely used.
It is a terminology used to indicate the names of drugs and links them to many drug databases used across pharmacy management platforms. This terminology helps to communicate messages or data between health systems that use software from different companies. In other words, it indicates compatibility.
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) –
This is a universal system of codes that identifies medical data and documentation. They contain codes for clinical tests, laboratory tests, measurements, and observations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stipulates several codes for vaccines and for companies that develop the vaccines to be used in immunization messages.
2. Content Standards
Content standards are the ones used to define the data contained within the messages exchanged. This standard defines the structure of the message transmitted in electronic format and includes common data sets for message types
HL7 Version 2:
This is one of the most commonly used standards for messaging that facilitates the communication of medical data between systems. It was developed to support integrated healthcare platforms consisting of multiple individual medical solutions. For example, a practice management solution can be integrated with software for electronic medical records and a patient engagement system through HL7. This lets doctors pull up medical records during virtual consultations and maintain a rapport with the patients.
HL7 Version 3 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) –
This document mark-up standard specifies the layout and structure of medical documents exchanged between doctors and patients. It outlines the document on context, authentication potential, readability, and so forth.
3. Transport Standards
This category of standards deals with the format of the content communicated between health systems, the layout of the documents, and the linking of patient data and templates.
Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) –
This standard is used to transfer and manage medical imaging information. DICOM facilitates the transmission of clinical images across healthcare systems and the means of archiving the images. Examples of medical images transferred using DICOM include ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), endoscopy, positron emission tomography (PET), X-ray, etc.
4. Direct Standard:
This standard outlines protocols that enable users to send and receive authenticated, secured medical data directly to and from other users over the internet.
Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) –
This is an HL7 standard that enables healthcare information to be shared through electronic media. This standard provides numerous advantages in terms of interoperability with other standards, ease of operation, lower overhead, and efficient transmission of medical data. Furthermore, standardizes application programming interfaces (APIs), the backbone of any kind of interoperability in healthcare technologies. They enable medical solutions from different companies to communicate with each other and exchange data.
5. Standards for Privacy
With the rapid digitization of all walks of life, protecting the privacy and integrity of people’s information has become extremely important. This also applies to the healthcare industry. Medical solutions operating people’s clinical data need to follow certain protocols that the government stipulates to protect patients’ data.
The Health Insurance Portability and Affordability Act (HIPAA) is legislation that stipulates standards for the security and privacy of medical data.
HIPAA Privacy Rule
This regulation has established common standards nationwide for protecting people’s medical records and other identifiable health information. Medical insurance plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and providers who carry out electronic transactions of medical information are bound by this regulation. Simply put, it mandates a fair degree of safety measures regarding patient data. It limits the criteria for sharing protected health information without the individual’s approval.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule also gives people a right over their health information, including the right to obtain a copy or examine it.
HIPAA Security Rule:
This rule outlines standards to protect people’s electronic health information created, used, maintained, or received by a covered entity such as healthcare providers, testing laboratories, pharmacies, and so on. This rule mandates minimum technical, administrative, and physical security measures.
6. Identifier Standards
This type of standard is used to identify patients and healthcare providers.
Medical Record Number (MRN) – This is a code specific to medical organizations and indicates patient care documentation during admission or even as an outpatient.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing ID (NCSBN ID) –
This is a unique identification code generated for every nurse licensed to practice nursing. It is available in a database maintained by the NCSBN.
Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) –
This is a registry used at a hospital or a clinic to maintain consistent and accurate data on the patients it has treated.
6. Levels of Healthcare Interoperability
Integrated health care involves a centralized structure for managing medical information at a hospital or ambulatory clinic. But as we have already seen, there are certain challenges to smooth health systems integration, which are overcome by interoperability. In this section, we talk about the levels of healthcare interoperability.
The Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) board developed a multi-leveled structure to help clinicians and other medical professionals analyze the existing systems for exchanging data and managing documents. There are four levels to this structure or rather levels of interoperability –
a. Foundational Level
As the name indicates, this is a foundation for enabling different IT systems to exchange data. It establishes the compatibility status that enables the systems to send and receive data packets. But the systems cannot interpret the information at this stage; they just acknowledge the transfer or receipt.
b. Structural Level
This level of interoperability outlines the structure of the medical information sent or received. Subsequently, this enables the systems to detect and interpret data fields which helps derive the actual meaning or intention of the sent data. The Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) and HL7 provide the foundation for structural interoperability. In other words, it ensures efficient data sharing between systems at a hospital or clinic.
c. Semantic Level
This level of interoperability represents the ability of healthcare solutions to exchange relevant medical information, interpret the same and even use it for operational purposes. In other words, it involves exchanging medical information between platforms that support varying data types. This level of interoperability facilitates the exchange of patient data between providers at organizations using different electronic health records software. This data might also include medical images, and the semantic level of interoperability enables the recipient health IT system to accept and incorporate the data, irrespective of its original format.
The benefit of this level of interoperability is that it makes patients available to providers, avoiding the need to carry out the same tests or scans. Needless to point out, it benefits the patients, providers, and insurance payers, facilitates coordination of care, and ultimately is good for the overall clinical outcomes.
d. Organizational Level
The organizational level of interoperability facilitates the exchange of medical data between various organizations within the healthcare industry. However, this level of interoperability requires a sound framework of policy, regulations, and protocols, not to mention innovations in novel technologies. This is necessary from a compliance and security perspective, as the data needs to be seamlessly exchanged among entities.
Many experts agree that this represents the highest level of interoperability, and most organizations are still working to implement foundational and structural levels of interoperability.
As the healthcare industry rapidly adopts digital technology, it must not come as a surprise if there might appear to be a need for additional levels. The last decade has seen venture capitalists pour millions of dollars into healthcare technologies. We could see novel technologies appear by the end of this decade, wherein interoperability might take on new meanings.
7. Building a Healthcare Integration Platform
As we have already seen, the development of newer medical technologies must go hand in hand with interoperability. It has become increasingly important as more technologists continue to innovate new health system solutions. In light of this, the discussion around interoperability platforms gains further momentum. This section discusses the process involved in developing a platform for an integrated healthcare system.
The health tech industry has been growing rapidly in the last few years, and it seems to have taken off after the Covid-19 pandemic. More and more companies, both small and large, have been investing innovating novel healthcare solutions. In light of this, integrated medical systems would have to be able to accommodate those technologies to broaden the scope of their operations. So, the market for such health care system integrators is steadily rising.
Let’s have a look at the steps needed for developing a healthcare integration platform –
I. Determine the Scale of the Project
The need for integration varies from organization to organization. A large hospital that offers a wide range of services would have integration needs that are considerably different from those of smaller or medium-sized ambulatory clinics. Based on this, we need to know the standards the integration platform needs to support. These might include HL7 version 2 or HL7 version 3, FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), and so on.
The next obvious step is to finalize the integrations that would be needed for the organization. These would include any number of medical technologies, electronic health records, medical billing, medical informatics, and so on. Another consideration could be the use of technologies about cloud computing in healthcare. It needs to be determined whether the planned implementation will be on-premises or on the clouds.
II.Finalize a Model for Development
The project to build an integration platform to support integrated healthcare solutions is like any other project for developing software solutions. So, it is important to follow a certain model for developing the project. As mentioned above, it all depends on the size and scale of the project, along with the integrations planned. Moreover, it must also be able to accommodate any potential expansions in the future.
There are several models to choose from: agile, iterative, prototyping, spiral, scrum, and so forth.
It would take some consideration from someone with experience to identify which one of these would best suit the process.
III.Choose a Team
No software development project of any kind is doable without the right team. Once again, it is better if somebody with experience makes the selection of the team members. The person forming a team would most likely also serve as the project manager. The other members would include DevOps engineers, UI/UX developers, software architects, and testers.
From a cost point of view, it would also be advisable to hire experienced freelancers from overseas to save up on the overhead. Numerous companies offer freelancers on an ad-hoc basis, and they can either be hired full-time permanently or only until the completion of the project. It all depends upon the budget and the ability to manage a team composed of on-site and remote members.
IV. Finalize Technology Stack
After the initial preparation and team selection, choosing the technology stack you want to work with is important. It is to be noted that using a Healthcare Integrated Platform-as-a-Service (HiPaaS) accelerates workflows. Such a platform facilitates integration with medical data formats through application programming interfaces. Moreover, they’re also highly likely to be HIPAA compliant and integrate multiple health data standards.
V. Develop the Platform
After all, the preparation and the groundwork laid, it is time to code the platform and develop it. It would be up to the project manager to coordinate the team’s activities and oversee the development process. The process has to be done within a realistic deadline and carried out in phases, per the model of development selected. Various factors would influence the development speed, and it is up to the project manager to consider those while making decisions about workloads.
Like any platform, the healthcare integration platform would also need extensive testing to ensure that all the functions work as desired. The testing will have to be carried out according to established parameters to ensure that it also ensures data security. Subsequently, the platform is ready to be deployed.
8. How Does Third Party EMR Integration Improve Medical Outcomes
The benefits of integration and having integrated medical services have been well established. But the main question is the exact nature of the role of integration in improving the overall patient outcomes. In this section, we will discuss how integration impacts clinical outcomes for the patients.
It is already well known that using electronic medical records software has become an integral aspect of healthcare. The benefits of such software are well-established in terms of accessing patient information when needed. But as advantageous as EMR software might be, its real power can only be unlocked through integration with other third-party medical applications.
Needless to point out, the use of EMRs has had a phenomenal effect on the process of providing care. Any person who has ever gone to a doctor has their medical record created and updated with every visit. This is a central repository of the entire medical history of the person, which can be retrieved in under a minute with a few clicks on the screen. So, when a patient enters a clinic for a consultation, his or her medical history would be retrieved by the physician for reference. Based on the health history, previous medications, prevailing conditions, and past treatments or surgeries, the physician can know the patient’s condition better and prescribe tests or treatments accordingly in the present.
A. Risk of Chronic Diseases
This approach is extremely important for people suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, etc. If a person with any of these conditions goes to a doctor with a new problem, the medications prescribed would be different for this patient than if he or she would not have a chronic condition.
Similarly, in case of accidents, car crashes, gunshots, or other emergencies like heart attacks, women going into labor, etc., it is extremely important to know the history of patients before prescribing or even administering any sort of medication. Prior medical conditions or any allergies might trigger an adverse reaction and severely endanger the patient’s life. EMRs play a major role in modern hospital systems and have become indispensable.
B. Integration in Telehealth
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth technologies across the healthcare industry. What was only a topic of discussion among a few enthusiasts suddenly became mainstream. Integrating electronic medical records with telehealth software will enable doctors to pull up a patient’s medical history during a virtual consultation and better know the patient’s condition. This helps better clinical decision-making, especially since the doctor and patient won’t be in the same room together.
As telehealth becomes more and more prevalent in healthcare, it is likely to become the second most important application to be integrated, after EMR. Telehealth enables people living in remote locations to access care that would otherwise have been unavailable to them. Additionally, integrating applications like scheduling appointments, medical coding and billing with telehealth and EMR systems would pave the way for comprehensive medical systems where people can avail themselves of remote care and pay for it. The providers, too, would be able to receive reimbursements for the virtual care provided.
C. For Mental Health
In 2019, about 50 million Americans experienced mental illness, and experts even estimate that about 3 million youth suffer from depression. However, there is a shortage of mental health therapists in the country. A study found that nearly one-third of Americans live in locations without single mental care professional. Telehealth, along with EMR integration, can help alleviate this shortage. With integrated telehealth technologies such as the one mentioned above, people can access care for mental issues from the privacy of their homes and pay for it.
This would be a win-win for the providers, patients, and payers since more people could access care remotely and pay for it.
Integrating EMRs and other third-party applications goes a long way in improving the efficiency and productivity of workflows at hospitals and clinics. As we have seen, having patients’ medical histories to hand makes it easier to make impactful clinical decisions. EHRs, along with other third-party applications working in unison, help unlock the full potential for an integrated healthcare system to empower doctors to serve patients better.
9. Some Essential Third-Party Systems That Integrate with EMRs?
The benefits of using an integrated healthcare system at hospitals are many. As we have seen, they have become must-haves for just about every healthcare organization. As the industry sees more and more innovations, the integrations are only bound to become more comprehensive. In this section, we will explore some of the essential third-party systems.
Electronic medical records software forms the cornerstone of any type of integrated healthcare program. All other third-party medical applications are integrated with the EMR and exchange data with one another. Let’s have a look at some of the third-party health system solutions that integrate with electronic medical records software –
As we have already mentioned above, telehealth has become one of the most talked-about topics in healthcare in the United States and globally. Its potential to extend quality, specialist care to places that lack experienced professionals has made it one of the most promising medical technologies of this time. It enables quality care to be delivered to patients without leaving their homes. Moreover, when integrated with other applications for administrative purposes, providers can offer care and handle everyday administration from one interface.
2. Radiology Information System
Most large hospitals have a radiology department for medical imaging. The images are generated and stored in a certain format. By integrating the relevant software, physicians can retrieve a particular scan for a patient during consultation or on medical rounds in case of admitted patients. This saves time and energy that would’ve otherwise been spent going to the radiology department and getting the physical copy of the scans.
3. Laboratory Testing Information Software
Every hospital has a testing laboratory on its premises to carry out any of the dozens of tests needed to know about patients’ conditions. Those tests’ results must be shared with the doctor who prescribed them. A laboratory information software integrated within a broader hospital system enables doctors to access the results for their patients during consultations.
4. Medical Billing Software
Any healthcare process is incomplete without a means of billing. Medical billing software is also one of the main applications to be integrated with the broader hospital systems containing the EMR software. The staff at hospitals and clinics use this for billing workflows, speeding things up and greatly reducing the chances for errors.
The wave of digitization has been going strong across all industries for about a decade. Investors have been promoting innovation through strategic investments in technologies, many of which have enormous potential for positive impact. The integration market will only grow yearly as the healthcare industry adopts newer technologies. Integrated care solutions will certainly be part of healthcare for the foreseeable future.
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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.