An integrated EMR fosters the seamless sharing of patient health information between one or more electronic systems. Such information includes medical history, demographics, allergies, radiology, and lab results.
Successful EHR integration enables providers to access and use complete, up-to-date patient information. This makes it easy for healthcare professionals to base their diagnosis and treatment plans on facts available in real-time. Integration also helps healthcare leaders and administrators to make high-quality business decisions which reduce operational costs and boost patient outcomes.
Why Is Achieving an Integrated EMR So Difficult?
Unfortunately, effective EHR data integration is still a major challenge for many healthcare providers in the U.S. Integration has been made more difficult by the current information overload. Continuous data streams come from clinical notes, patient monitoring, pharmaceuticals, and research departments.
Nonetheless, integration is the key to successful data-driven healthcare when there are so many disparate EMR systems. With most providers using diverse information systems, bringing together the information in different data silos will only happen when there’s data integration.
To help providers achieve effective synchronization of information, let’s look at some steps to take for effective EHR integration.
1. Avoid Overprotected Data
Keeping data in silos to boost security can be counterproductive. Some organizations decide to separate the data in their EHR from those used for research, billing, and other purposes. While this may make sense when trying to comply with HIPAA regulations, it hinders data integration. Providers need to be aware that effective data management and the use of security protocols improves security and not the keeping of data silos.
2. Use Systems With a Standardized Data Format
Finding the most suitable data schema is still a major concern for healthcare organizations. Hundreds of EHRs are in use and each them has its unique architecture, database schema, and capabilities. So, it’s difficult to pull out data from these systems or create a standard way to share information between systems.
Also, these EMR systems support a limited number of formats. Consequently, organizations need to spend more time and money acquiring data extraction tools.
The best way to resolve these incompatibilities is to work with an EMR integration partner. An experienced health IT consultant who creates custom integration tools can help you build interfaces that will enhance seamless communication between disparate applications.
3. Use Effective API Solutions
A robust API solution can improve the exchange of data across EMR systems and the array of applications used in most large organizations. Some of the benefits provided by API solutions include:
- Improved productivity by eliminating manual data entry
- Faster access to complete patient data through automated data capture
- Increased time for physician-to-patient interaction
While API solutions have proven to be effective in many organizations, developing in-house applications can be a herculean task. The most efficient way to take advantage of APIs is to use one developed by an EMR integration consultant. Such solutions also scale well for growing organizations, and they can be used to connect all third-party applications with EHRs.
Boost the Efficiency of Your Applications With an Integrated EMR
You can trust Lifepoint Informatics. We have provided solutions for over 500 entities, and we’ve completed more than 20,000 projects over the past 20 years. Take the next step and contact us or call 877.522.8378 today. We will set up an appointment for you and show you a demo of our EHR/EMR integration solutions.