Application programming interface (API) is a type of bridging software that allows two or more software applications to exchange data. This is important because different companies might develop applications using different programming languages and data standards. When it comes to healthcare, EHR integration API, as the name indicates, allows EHR systems to be integrated with other software platforms.
API in healthcare, especially EHR API, streamlines many activities at medical organizations. This is because they enable multiple software systems to access medical records data for various functions. These could include coding, billing, and charting, among others. Let’s discuss how health API has become integral to medical technologies.
Advantages of API in Healthcare
EHR integration software has become vital for efficient healthcare services. At a time of increasing technology adoption, interoperability gives the coveted boost for productivity, enabling hospitals and clinics to serve their patients better. Let’s look at the advantages of connecting disparate applications using health API –
1. Streamlining Everyday Operations
Hospitals, as well as clinics, must carry out several activities every day to ensure the smooth functioning of the organization. This includes both clinical as well as non-clinical tasks. An EMR integration API that connects different healthcare software platforms makes it simple to exchange data between them. This ultimately goes on to accelerate the speed and efficiency of all workflows.
A doctor can order tests and scans for a patient through the hospital information management system. The request will be processed by the laboratory management and radiology platforms integrated. Both results would be uploaded to the medical records, where the doctor will view them. Additionally, a medical billing solution incorporated into the broader system the billing staff uses can fetch this information to carry out medical coding. This data would be automatically retrieved from the EMR to code the services rendered and generate claims to be sent to the payer.
The relevant staffers would carry out the entire sequence of activities with a few clicks on a screen. Seamless data exchange between the software platforms makes this possible, facilitated by EMR integration software.
2. Minimized Paperwork
An EHR integration API would connect disparate medical software to facilitate data exchange. As a result, different hospital departments can obtain the required data with a few clicks instead of printing them out. Not only does this minimize paperwork, but it also speeds up the process flows and lowers administrative overhead. Furthermore, the lack of a need for handling physical paperwork also increases security and integrity by preventing loss or misplacement. In addition to these benefits, lower paperwork helps reduce the organization’s carbon footprint.
3. Improved Revenue Cycles
This is perhaps one of the most important and talked-about advantages of using EHR API for interoperability. Healthcare billing is a complex process by nature. But when billing software is integrated with an EMR/EHR, activities like medical coding, charge capture, and claims generation are accelerated.
The data needed for coding the services is fetched directly from the EMR integrated with the billing software. This is then used to generate the claims. Without the EMR integration API, the data for the billing process flow would have to be manually obtained and entered by the staff. This is highly prone to errors, and such errors in coding are a leading reason for claim denials. Reimbursements from claims form the bulk of revenues for providers, and claim denials affect those. But EMR data integration introduces a degree of automation that minimizes the chances of human errors, thereby lowering the odds of claim denials.
Lower claim denials ensure steady revenue cycles. As an added advantage, an integrated EHR also allows a small staff to manage large billing volumes. As a result, the overhead involved in billing gets lowered over time, adding to revenues.
4. Telehealth Implementation
Telehealth was popular during the pandemic as people were forced to remain indoors. A telehealth solution with an integrated EMR allows providers to bill for telemedicine services like in-person ones. When a doctor finishes a virtual consultation, he or she can enter the details of the services into the integrated medical records solution. Subsequently, this information can be retrieved through the billing solution also incorporated. This ability to obtain the necessary billing information quickly without hassle from the telehealth platform helps facilitate its wider adoption.
The implementation of telehealth and telemedicine will pave the way for the adoption of remote patient monitoring platforms.
5. Better Compliance
Medical organizations must comply with data security, auditing, and documentation regulations. The larger a hospital gets, the more complex its operations and, subsequently, the greater the compliance measures it would need to take. But with an EHR integration API solution, the data can be exchanged seamlessly between medical software platforms.
Accessing the necessary clinical and administrative operations information among different systems makes compliance easier. Things like assessments and audits, signed consent forms, and policy documentation, among others, are easily managed through EHR data integration.
Steps for Effective EMR API Integration
The integration goals would vary from organization to organization, depending on the size and services offered. This is because their services would also impact the type of software platforms they use. So, there are certain steps that every medical organization, irrespective of size, can take for a successful API integration –
1. Examine Vendor Track Record
Medical administrators need to know the company’s track record in carrying out the integration. Things like their product portfolio, clientele, customer reviews, availability of tech support, and leadership are important factors to consider. A company that has a large clientele, a good track record with its customers, and provides prompt technical assistance is generally reliable. These will certainly impact the EHR integration API processes.
2. Determine Integration Roadmap
The process of integration depends on the software platforms being integrated. This would differ from hospital to hospital and clinic to clinic. So, it is important to draw up a plan to integrate all the platforms. This will require technical experts assessing the existing IT infrastructure, who will then provide a detailed report.
Assessing the technical requirements helps the organization get a reliable cost estimate and the time needed for integration. This step can also consider any plans for expansion to include newer software platforms that might need further integration. The growing adoption of healthcare cloud computing solutions might also factor in during future expansions.
3. Ensure Compliance
Integrating various medical software platforms would mean exchanging confidential information. So, it is important to make sure that all the solutions, as well as the integrating APIs would, comply with government regulations. A failure to do so could result in a data loss in the future, which will, in turn, result in legal consequences. So, compliance is a vital part of any EHR integration API service.
4. Integration and Testing
This is the step where the actual process of integration is carried out. Subsequently, testing the whole integrated system to ensure seamless data exchange is important. The testing must also include security testing to ensure that there is no data loss in any way. The testing is conducted against established standards to ensure seamless operation and regulatory compliance.
The growing adoption of newer technologies like telehealth, data analytics, and IoT in healthcare is bound to usher in major changes. Patient medical data lies at the core of these innovations, so EHR development must keep up to facilitate future integrations. Ease of interoperability is the cornerstone of any type of technological expansion of the healthcare industry.
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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.