Today, it’s safe to say that Electronic Health Records (EHRs) have become an essential asset to healthcare providers all over the world. This form of computerized patient records holds great promise for personalized, safe, and reliable medical care and treatment.
But to make the web of digital records work for the good of healthcare, medical providers need an effective tech-savvy way to manage EHRs and EMRs. And that’s when Epic integration comes on stage.
Thus, 45% of the US population have their EHRs stored within the Epic system with leading medical institutions counting on Epic for electronic health record management. Therefore, when building a digital solution for the medical sector, Epic integration is no longer an option – it’s a mandate.
Today, we’ll go over the fundamentals of Epic EHR integration, its major benefits, and specific use cases for health tech.
The Top Challenge Of Modern Healthcare
The new realities have laid bare lots of inefficiencies in the medical sector. And the main and most obvious problem is that healthcare is a patchwork – a patchwork of disparate providers, systems, technology, and information. As a result, healthcare vendors lack the interoperability of medical data to deliver improved patient experiences and better patient care outcomes.
Essentially, interoperability refers to the ability of patient-centered systems to exchange, process, and use medical data cohesively for easier access. The interrupted flow of data then helps healthcare providers deliver personalized care and get a holistic view of one’s well-being.
In March 2020, the interoperability regulation was finalized by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information. Among other things, the rule supports the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to protect patient data and ensure seamless access to all parties involved in healthcare. It means that medical software solutions have to be integrated with EHR/EMR APIs.
What is EHR/EMR integration?
Both EHR (electronic health records software) and EMR (electronic medical records) refer to a systematized collection of patient data in a digital format. However, they are not the same, despite being similar at the first sight.
EMR is more of local information storage that contains data connected to a specific practice (e.g. dentistry) or a particular institution. In particular, Electronic Medical Records include the following information:
- Medical history
- Lab results
- Immunization dates
- Allergies, and others.
EMRs do not easily travel outside the practice and might need to be printed. Also, they are an alternative to traditional patient charts.
Electronic Health Records are digital records of all patient data that are accessible for all healthcare providers no matter the medical institution. Any number of providers can look into the EHR for decision-making, diagnosis, and care beyond a specific provider’s office.
Along with EMR data, EHRs also include:
- Family medical history
- Patient demographics
- Progress notes
- Vital signs
- Radiology reports
- Insurance details, and others.
Whether it’s EMR or EHR, medical staff still needs an effective and easy way to access the notes. And EMR/EHR Epic integration is what simplifies the access and eliminates the need for manual data input.
What are the main benefits of Epic EMR/EHR integration?
As healthcare is becoming more technically focused for the sake of patients’ comfort, Epic integration is the rising demand for the industry.
Let’s have a look at the core advantages of Epic integration for your medical software:
- Provide a single source of truth for healthcare vendors
In their everyday practice, medical staff has to find information in a variety of disconnected places. It includes logging into different systems for lab results and X-rays as well as other sources of patient data. Integrating with Epic EHR and EMR allows doctors to access exhaustive information on any patient in one go without making requests to various institutions. This also translates into maximizing the time allocated specifically for patient treatment.
- Enable patients to access their records on demand
Patient satisfaction is the main success driver for healthcare service providers and the growth of their business. The ability to look into medical records whenever your patient needs that is what Epic EMR Integration provides for the institution. Easy and hassle-free access to critical information also builds the trust of the patients.
- Effective and quick treatment
With Epic EHR integration, doctors have all medical data at hand. Any lab results, tests, or allergy information is accessible to the medical institution without filling out thousands of papers. With such detailed information, patients can be treated better and efficiently which leads to quick healing.
- Easier billing
According to industry stakeholders, Epic integration unlocks access to faster billing processes. Thus, medical institutions can process patient payments in a more timely manner since they have all records in one place. Also, integration functionality allows automated invoicing to the right patient account within Epic.
- Confidentiality maintained
For data security, Epic integration developers are required to follow HIPAA guidelines. The confidentiality of the patient’s data and information must always be maintained, thus eliminating the possibility of a data breach during the data transfer procedure.
How To Integrate with Epic: An easy step by step
Integrating with EPIC usually boils down to 5 core steps. However, the exact process of integration may vary based on specific situations.
Check Epic support
First of all, you should make sure that your data storage is compatible with the EHR/EMR system. For that, we recommend checking the server where your application is stored and the resources where you are going to gather data.
Register on Uscdi.epic.com
Epic on FHIR is an official website for developers who build medical applications. Epic’s work with FHIR enables any healthcare provider to connect to any app that is also FHIR compatible to exchange health data. You need to sign up to the website to access the API key.
Audit your data inventory
Before connecting your data points, make sure you have all the necessary endpoints for the API. Therefore, make sure your system includes an exhaustive amount of data needed for effective connection.
Access the API and perform testing
The API will allow your applications to talk to each other and exchange data. But before integrating a software intermediary available on the website, test it against sample data.
Integrate the API into your application
Finally, update your application code with API calls using endpoints. Your integration is considered complete when your application is registered with Epic.
When Your Application Should Be Epic
Epic integration is an excellent tech solution to let your staff and patients look at their medical records and test results on demand. It also reduces the time needed to find patient information, which leads to better customer service and greater trust.
However, Epic EHR integration is not a magic pill for all systems. Sometimes, your application is better off without it, including the following cases:
- You are building patient-centered software;
- You need to continuously update your data within the app and EHR system;
- Your existing database is large.
The Bottom Line
Today, doctors have so much on their plates. The pandemic outbreak has also crippled the healthcare system and pushed it to the limits. Besides actual treatment, physicians also have to perform administrative tasks like filling out prescription notes and billing to patient records.
In this case, Electronic Health Records can lighten the administrative burden and help doctors focus on the quality of care. Epic EHR integration allows your healthcare software setup to unify paper and electronic documentation, and make the most of digital records.