Electronic Health Record (EHR) integration is extremely relevant in today’s modern world, with all practice management being conducted via software. As your patient management and treatment relies on your patient information, EHR integration is a big factor when determining the best practice management solution to use and is a key component of ensuring personal health information (PHI) is kept safe.
In this article, we explain what EHR integration is, as well as show you how it will help you acquire new patients, retain existing patients, enhance the patient experience, and drastically improve your patient management and processing.
- What is EHR and practice management?
- What does EHR integration achieve?
- Why EHR integration is so important for your practice management solution
- Common EHR integration challenges
- 6 best practice EHR integration software for practice management
What are EHR and practice management solutions?
Electronic Health Records (EHR) integration is the process of enabling medical records to seamlessly be accessed across electronic software solutions. For practice management and patient engagement solutions, this means medical records such as personal information, medical history, and more can be accessed easily across solutions.
The terms Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) refer to the same thing but are not. An EMR is a digital version of a patient's medical chart that is specific to a single healthcare provider or organization. It contains information such as the patient's medical history, diagnoses, medications, and treatment plans while an EHR is a digital record of a patient's health information that is shared across multiple healthcare providers and organizations. In addition to the information contained in an EMR, an EHR can also include data from other providers, such as lab results, imaging studies, and prescriptions. EHRs allow healthcare providers to have a more complete view of a patient's health status.
What does EHR integration achieve?
Integrating your EHR and practice management solution gives practitioners quick access to medical and dental records, leading to more efficient diagnosis and treatment. Patients can also enter personal information electronically, making onboarding faster and more effective. You also have the ability to perform tasks not supported by your traditional EHR system, like online scheduling.
Details such as patient demographics, medical history, medications, allergies, and lab results are transferred using an EHR integration.
Other benefits include:
- Seamless storage, management, and transfer of practice electronic health records (EHR) between medical professionals
- Streamline and synthesize administrative and clinical workflows for greater efficiency
- Real-time access to validated, up-to-date patient data with no lag
- Simplifies scheduling by providing relevant patient information at the time of scheduling
- Electronic patient data integration allows you to go paperless, letting you use digital patient intake forms, feedback forms, and survey forms to collect patient information
Why EHR integration is so important for your practice management solution
EHR integration leverages data from digital health tools to provide relevant information, alerts, and guidance at the point of care, fostering a more engaged doctor-patient relationship and increasing patient loyalty.
Top reasons why it’s essential to have a practice management solution with practice EHR integration:
PHI (Protected Health Information) is safe and secure
With a HIPAA-compliant integrated EHR system and measures in place to protect against cyber-attacks, you can trust that your patient data is secure. Moving from paper-based to EHR solutions also safeguards PHI in the event of theft, fire, or natural calamity.
PHI can be accessed at any time by authorized users
Being able to access your patient data at any time from any device can contribute to more coordinated and efficient care. Whether the dentist is accessing medical history information for treatment or administrators are accessing personal information to schedule follow-up treatment, everyone has access to up-to-date, accurate patient information.
Better healthcare outcomes
Once your patients’ data is easily accessible and available on one platform, as a doctor or dentist, you can offer an effective diagnosis and sound judgment on the problem, as you have all the facts right in front of you. An EHR-integrated system also enables a safer and more reliable way of writing prescriptions.
Easing clinical workflow
Having all your patient information on one platform can promote a seamless clinical experience and expedite communication about care plans. Medical and dental professionals can offer patients a streamlined experience including collecting, assessing, and transferring sensitive patient data.
EHR integration allows you to automate most administrative functions that take up time, leaving the staff and the healthcare professionals to focus on providing good care for their patients and growing their practice.
Higher patient engagement
When patients have access to their health records from the comfort of their homes and device, they feel more invested and interested in their health, as it helps reduce anxiety and they don’t have to wait until they see their doctor. This leads to higher engagement as the patients are more in control of managing their care.
7 common EHR integration challenges
Integrating electronic health records with your current practice management software cannot be done overnight and may also be met with a lot of resistance. It takes a lot of planning and getting used to by your staff. Here are some of the challenges that your practice might face:
Compatibility with the current system
- Problem: Since most practices use multiple systems for different functionalities, getting an EHR system that works with all of them will be the biggest challenge and a reason for resistance.
- Solution: An all-in-one software like NexHealth is compatible with all the top dental EHRs such as Eaglesoft, Curve Dental, Dentrix, OpenDental among others, it ensures that you can manage patients efficiently without compromising on the practice EHR solution of your choice.
Staff adoption resistance
- Problem: Staff members' level of familiarity and interest in technology varies by different degrees, making it difficult to get everyone on board when introducing a new software system.
- Solution: NexHealth offers smooth onboarding with dedicated account managers to help you each step of the way. It empowers your staff to save time on manual entry to focus more on patients.
- Problem: EHR implementation can be expensive, costing practices between $15,000 - $70,000 per provider. While this is a fixed cost, it is essential to give your practice a digital uplift. Since healthcare practices have multiple software that they use to track and analyze PHI, schedule appointments, and manage treatment, interoperability is extremely important.
- Solution: NexHealth’s bidirectional interface integrates with all of the major EHR platforms and consolidates your tech stach. It automates all your patient communication from one easy-to-manage place.
- Problem: Practices that are thinking of switching or considering integrating an EHR system are most concerned about how quickly their staff will get proficient at using it.
- Solution: With a comprehensive resource page and customer support, NexHealth promises to have the answer to all your questions. You can browse through the several categories to find what you are looking for or simply contact NexHealth’s customer support team.
- Problem: Data privacy is a major concern when it comes to practice EHR implementation, as practices are storing sensitive and personal patient information. In a HIPAA journal study, it was found that in 2020 there were more than 29 million healthcare records that were breached.
- Solution: Choosing a cloud-based platform that is HIPAA-compliant, like NexHealth, can ensure strict governance of your data and will restrict access to your patient’s data to the concerned parties. Make sure to know your health record data rights.
- Problem: Data migration also requires proper planning and time as it could take a few weeks and may temporarily deny access to other stakeholders. Most importantly, data loss in this transition phase can leave your practice vulnerable, and cause you to lose your reputation with your existing patients.
- Solution: Choosing software that provides customer support with your data migration is key. Your staff may need guidance on how to proceed in the best way possible to complete the task in the least amount of time and without errors.
6 best EHR-integrated software for practice management
If you are in the market to evaluate the best EHR integration software for your practice management software, then the following list could give you an insight into what is available and if it suits your practice’s needs.
Cost: Contact for a quote
NexHealth is a trusted name in the healthcare technology industry as a patient experience software that helps practices acquire and retain patients while saving admin time. NexHealth Synchronizer™ is the most reliable way to allow practices to easily integrate with a plethora of EHR systems with just one API, reducing the time that it takes to build a product from 18 months to just 6 weeks.
See how Vivodoc uses NexHealth to reduce 75% cost savings per integration for hundreds of its practices.
Image credit: athenahealth
Cost: Contact for a quote
Best for: EHR system is available for access from multiple devices
Athenahealth is an easy-to-use EHR system that fits small and medium-sized practices that may not have dedicated technical personnel to install complex software. This cloud-based healthcare software is packed with features and works for practices where multiple devices are used to make entries.
Image Credit: eClinicWorks
Cost: $449 - $599/mo
Best for: Understanding disease patterns to accurately assess risks and provide better diagnoses
eClinicWorks is an all-encompassing healthcare tool that supports features like practice EHR, telehealth, patient engagement, and revenue cycle management among others. eClinicWorks has a virtual assistant ‘Eva’ to help you stay connected and address your concerns.
Image Credit: NextGen Healthcare
Cost: Contact for a quote
Best for: Focus on ambulatory care providers of all sizes and communities by increasing productivity to improving financial outcomes and the ease of information exchange
NextGen Healthcare offers a line of products such as practice EHR, health information exchange, and revenue cycle management for multi and single-specialty hospitals, and small practices. With the aim to empower patients to take control of their health, NextGen Healthcare also enables practitioners to be more engaged and productive.
Image Credit: CareCloud
Cost: Contact for a quote
Best for: Manage patient flow to ePrescribe with ease
CareCloud provides a comprehensive solution for EHR integration, practice management, revenue cycle management, and patient experience management that is aimed to provide better clinical, financial, and operational outcomes. CareCloud Charts also provide real-time intelligence at the point of care to support critical decision-making capabilities like identifying the right course of treatment for your patients.
Image Credit: TheraNest
Cost: $39 - $91/mo
Best for: Managed Billing feature allows practices to outsource the insurance claims cycle to a dedicated billing specialist to get paid faster
TheraNext is a HIPAA-compliant tool that allows your practice to go paperless and manage client charts, diagnosis, and treatment history electronically. Practitioners can also take advantage of the unlimited notes templates that are available for use for individual and group therapy.
Get seamless integration with your EHR or EMR systems using NexHealth
As you can see, EHR integration is an essential component – and will be a main deciding factor – of any practice management solution you choose. NexHealth’s solution has an unparalleled number of partner solutions, ensuring that it will work with the EHR solution you already use (or plan on using). Auto-syncs occur every 30 seconds, which is faster than any other players on the market.