As your healthcare organization searches for the right productivity solutions, the first question you look to answer is, “Can our EMR system be integrated with medical answering outsourced services?” Then, the second question is, “How does that work?” And this is probably followed closely by, “How much does it cost?”
Sounds like your experience? Great, let’s get you some answers!
The enforcement of HIPAA security and privacy standards originally resulted in healthcare systems relying on bulky programs that were difficult to use. Today, however, EMR incorporate a dizzying number features, user-friendly interfaces, secure migration tools, convenient app, and accessibility tools. In addition to proving high-level security, the innovative software and cloud-based architecture now enable practitioners to save time and money.
What Are the Advantages of EMR Integrations?
If you are looking into the interoperability solutions, then you are probably already familiar with some of the benefits of EMR integrations. Using platforms such as WebPT, Epic, eClincalWorks, and Allscripts, these are some of the advantages you can expect to gain with integration.
- Streamlined sharing of data among medical professionals and service providers trusted with patient care.
- Savings on administrative time and costs.
- More personalized care for each patient.
- Increased capacity in healthcare management and the number of patients served per day.
- Optimized workflow and better efficiency.
- Coordinated efforts with important alerts and reminders.
- Organized documentation and coding.
- Electronic messages between agents, clinicians, hospitals, labs are tracked and recorded.
Can EMR systems integrate outsourced services?
Yes. Electronic medical record (EMR), also called electronic health record (EHR), software has become an invaluable tool in this industry. It does more than just organize patient data, it enables fast, accurate communication and treatment coordination among healthcare providers. With integrations, EMR systems are even more powerful.
EMR integration provides automatic, yet secure access to ePHI in and outside of a health system. This information is made available to trained and authorized staff of a medical organization and its outsourced service providers when necessary to better treat patients or manage their care in a timely fashion. Services provided by third parties, with interoperability, help organizations to deliver better treatment and measure performance.
Many outsourced activities can be integrated with an existing EMR, including:
- CRM platform,
- Medication tracking and prescription services,
- Billing and accounting system,
- HR and payroll,
- Lab reports,
- Health insurance provider system.
Related article: EMR Systems Integration Challenges for Medical Practices.
How Does EMR Integration Work?
Integration is a customized process. There is no quick answer here, because it depends on what type of EMR system your organization currently uses and how it is used. For an outsourced service to be successfully integrated, it’s necessary to first understand how your staff actually utilized the EMR on a day-to-day basis.
Each brand of EMR software has different features and functions. Plus, from small practitioners to extended health networks, each entity has a different system in place for organizing patient information within that software. This includes scheduling, color coding, documentation, protocol for on-call employees, etc.
For PatientCalls, this means that the only way we can provide top-quality integrated services as a 24-hour answering service is to have our agents trained as if they were internal employees. In addition to training for HIPAA compliance, ePHI security, and proper phone etiquette, they learn how to handle calls and scheduling according the the preferences of our customers. Essentially, call center agents become virtual medical receptionists who support your in-office staff.
How Much Do EMR Integrations Cost?
It depends. The cost of integrating a third-party service to an EMR system truly varies in relation to the type of software used, the complexity of the system, and the level of integration requested. In order to become an extension of your in-office staff, the service provider needs time to understand your needs, learn your procedures, and how to handle information just like a new employee would.
What Is It Like to Use Integrated Services?
From the prospective of your doctors and healthcare workers, EMR integration simply seems like the addition of a new feature to the system they are already comfortable using. Your staff doesn’t want to get used to a new platform or have to transfer information from the old software to the new in order to get it set up. With integrations, they don’t need to.
What about your patients? When the EMR system is connected to a phone answering service, for example, your patients will only notice the benefits. Data is accessible to call center agents so that they act as your front desk medical receptionist. So what they experience is immediate response their calls, and requests for appointments, prescription refills, and insurance verification, plus round-the-clock availability.
Practitioners appreciate how integrated services are streamlined. With a medical answering service, they save valuable time and money on staffing and administrative work. While at the same time, they are able to capture more appointments, see more patients, and focus more on delivering quality care.
What Can We Do to Prepare for EMR Integration?
Approach the EMR linking process as if you were hiring a new employee. Collect documentation that you would usually use to train a new staff member on using your internal data system. Any practices guides and notes on use related to the existing EMR platform will be helpful when introducing an integrated service provider to it.
How Long Will the Process Take?
Again, this depends. The time needed to learn how your staff uses the system and understand the level of operational involvement can take a few weeks. Your team should plan time for documentation and training leading up to the launch of the integrated solution.
Learn more about PatientCalls’ Custom Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Integration.