Most people enter the healthcare industry with one primary objective in mind: helping others. Whether a professional is directly involved with patient care, billing, or on the administrative side of the healthcare industry, nearly every decision made is done while considering how patient care can be improved.
While patient care is at the core of everything done in the medical industry, it’s important to keep in mind that hospitals and offices are still businesses. Businesses are inherently competitive, meaning that hospital systems must always do what they can to beat out the competition. This means hiring the best physicians, working to ensure shorter wait times, and create service-oriented interactions with patients.
One aspect of a quality patient experience that is often overlooked is the value that an EHR can bring to a hospital. More than 75% of providers report that their EHR allows them to deliver better patient care. How exactly can EHR integration help improve the care of patients? The team at Iron Bridge is here to break it down for you.
Improved Communication with EHR Integration
Centralized Online Portals for Secure Communication
The best EHRs in the healthcare industry now include simple access to a patient portal. Patient portals are changing the way patients interact with their physicians, billing, and own health information. By creating a secure location for accessing health records, checking test results, and communicating directly with medical professionals, patient portals are improving transparency in the industry and increasing access to information as patients need it.
This seamless form of communication with patients puts responsiveness at the forefront of the way doctors care for patients. Rather than sitting on test results for hours to days before finding the time to communicate with the patient, simple input into an EHR can allow the patient to know and understand their results and ask questions securely without dropping by the office or speaking on the phone.
Additionally, this improved communication allows patients to take more of a front seat approach to their own care. Simple access to results, health history, and appointment summaries keeps patients in the loops and inspires them to make more informed health decisions, creating improved care and patient knowledge long after appointments end. All of this is supported by EHR integration by reducing the number of steps necessary for making these information accessible and digestible for patients.
Enhanced Security with EHR Integration
Protecting Your Health Information and Rights
The healthcare industry has sets of rules and regulations that are designed to preserve patients’ rights. Regulations like HIPAA are in place to keep personal health information safe when communicating, managing data, and more, but many people don’t realize that electronic medical records also need a number of layers of security to maintain the safety of your information.
Once personal health information is entered into an EHR, systems lacking interoperability make it difficult to track the multiple locations that information exists. This means that individual pieces of health data can exist in a number of locations - ranging from in-office records to lab facilities - without a clear record of how many times the information may have been accessed and where the data actually lives.
EHR Integration provides peace of mind to patients and clinicians by securing personal health information. Centralized integration with internal and external vendors helps administrators track and pinpoint users and their actions, keeping personal health information safe and trackable at every step of the healthcare process.
Efficient Service with EHR Integration
Saving Time During Patient Interactions with Interoperable Systems
Much like physicians, patients’ lives are busy. Spending hours in the emergency room or excess time recounting an extensive medical history brings productivity to a screeching halt, creating a cycle of late appointments and displeased patients.
EHR Integration does the work that a number of departments and facets of healthcare simply cannot. By centralizing information from labs, insurance, and other offices, interoperable EHRs bring all information to one convenient location in a fast, secure manner unlike before.
Think of it this way; using an interoperable system takes a number of steps out of the equation. Instead of reentering health information with each and every appointment, physicians can easily review and recount information from a variety of sources quickly. Additionally, a clinician may want to order blood work, but an interoperable system may show that the patient had blood work done earlier in the week that could be used for the same purposes, saving time and money.
EHR integration makes this information readily available and ready to be communicated as needed. Doctors receive information quickly within a system that makes this data easy to retrieve, allowing for appointments to move quickly and patients to receive the quality care they deserve in a faster, more efficient manner.
Reduced Medical Errors with EHR Integration
Providing Comprehensive Data Across Organizations
Medical errors account for over 251k deaths annually in the US - a number significantly higher than other developed nations. Medical errors occur for a number of reasons, but healthcare systems have undeniable pressure to do what they can to reduce the number of potentially fatal medical errors that occur.
EHR integration is one possible solution for reducing the number of medical errors that occur. An interoperable system pulls information from a number of sources and applications, allowing physicians to have the most comprehensive look at their patients’ medical records and information about potential errors that may occur. Putting this information directly in the hands of clinicians empowers them to take action using complete, comprehensive insights that could potentially save the lives of patients. These insights may include information about allergies, pre-existing conditions, and past symptoms that could lead to faster diagnoses and actions in a critical situation.
The argument for EHR integration in the case of reducing medical errors comes down the question of how much a hospital system values patient outcomes. To be able to make the best possible decision for a patient - based off comprehensive rather than partial insights - can change the lives of patients in the near and distant future: a mission that drives physicians and the healthcare system itself.
Providing high-quality care to patients is more crucial than ever as the healthcare industry becomes an increasingly competitive landscape. While seemingly inconsequential on the surface, EHR integration can be the differentiating factor between a good hospital and a great hospital, making interoperability a crucial aspect of any functional EHR. For more information on the value that interoperability can add to your EHR, get in touch with Iron Bridge. As the creator of the first transparently-priced manages EHR integration, Iron Bridge is your source for helping take patient care to the next level.