Electronic Health Record (EHR) Integration: Main Reasons and Challenges with their Solutions

The market of digital technologies for healthcare is growing exponentially every year. Technologies are called to facilitate many daily operations for healthcare providers, take patient care to a new level, improve clinical employees’ efficiency, and boost revenue.

EHR is only one of plenty of healthcare solutions available today. To see how technologies change healthcare and explore the latest statistics — read our article about digital transformation in healthcare.

In this article, you will get an extensive overview of Electronic Health Record Systems integration. You are going to find out what an EHR is, what benefits it brings to healthcare providers, and why its integration is crucial for institutions. Moreover, we will take a look at the main challenges of integrating EHR and how to avoid them and get the most out of this system. Let’s get started!

hospital workers

Overview of an Electronic Health Record System

Before diving deep into the topic, let’s get a clear understanding of what EHR is.

An electronic Health Record or simply EHR is a digital version of a patient's medical chart. With this system, all access to data is automated to streamline the hospital’s workflows. EHR usually includes the following data:

  • Demographics
  • Treatment progress notes
  • Medical history
  • Medication history
  • Allergy data
  • Core vital signs
  • Health issues
  • Immunization records
  • Laboratory test results
  • Radiology reports

The statistics down below will be proof that EHR systems integration is inevitable in the future of any healthcare organization.

EHR Integration statistics

EHR integration is the process of implementing the advanced digital technology that aims at simplifying access to patient’s health data. It might also imply connecting the newly integrated EHR to other applications and systems that a healthcare provider uses. The expected outcome of integrating EHR is to enable seamless data sharing and access across devices and systems.

6 Reasons to Integrate EHR system

Now, let’s take a closer look at the main reasons companies should integrate Electronic Health Record systems.

EHR Integration benefits

Enhanced Safety and Security

The importance of safe and secure digital environments is undeniable for the healthcare sector as institutions store tons of sensitive information. All data stored by the hospital has to be protected and encrypted to prevent data breaches, cyber-attacks, and unauthorized access. EHR systems have advanced security features and HIPAA compliance that will enable a top-notch level of protection for all data stored by your institution.

Streamlined Hospital Workflows

Electronic health record system is an advanced digital platform that makes it possible to automate, facilitate and streamline all hospital workflows. From now on, it will be possible to reduce manual paperwork, track and manage all patient data digitally, and so much more. In its turn, the system will save staff time and resources, reduce error risks, as well as cut down operational costs as well. If hospitals choose to integrate EHR, it will all lead to better and more effective patient care delivery.

Easy Medical Data Sharing

EHR makes it possible not just to easily share all healthcare data within one hospital across departments but also share it across other hospitals if needed. It’s worth noting that data sharing is one of the main reasons businesses opt for EHR system integration. It can be extremely helpful if one patient is under the supervision of multiple doctors. The process of data sharing is extremely convenient and secure and physicians can access and share records regardless of their location for efficient collaboration with other specialists.

doctor and patient

Improved Work Efficiency and Productivity

As you can see, EHR systems are extremely helpful and positively transform the daily workflows of hospital professionals. Obviously, it results in improved productivity as they no longer have to deal with time-consuming tasks. Now, they can fully focus on what’s important for them and their patients. All important data is centralized and it’s going to be possible to access health records and communicate with doctors, pharmacies, and insurers. Also, it can help hospitals retain their employees as less paperwork will create better work satisfaction.

Better Patient Outcomes

Taking into account that EHR improves diagnostics and minimizes all redundant administrative work, it will enable medical staff to spend more time with patients. By offering better patient service, healthcare organizations will also significantly improve patient treatment outcomes. In addition, easy access to healthcare data from any device will also help offer faster urgent healthcare services to ambulance patients.

Patient Engagement

The EHR system means access to health records not just for the doctor but also for the patient. With this platform, patients can see their health records from the comfort of their homes which means they are more engaged in their treatment process and are less anxious because they don’t have to wait until the next doctor’s appointment to know the results. It gives them more freedom and the feeling of being in control of their healthcare process.

Top 5 EHR Integration Challenges

EHR Integration challenges

It goes without saying that there could be several problems in EHR systems integration and your company has to be ready not just to benefit from its features but also to face and effectively address potential issues. Down below, we will briefly describe all the main EHR integration challenges you might encounter during healthcare software development and usage.

Privacy Concerns

Data privacy is one of the major concerns when it comes to digitizing. The same concerns can be applied to EHR integration. The system contains plenty of sensitive data and personal information. Healthcare records are prone to data breaches according to the latest research.

Solution: While integrating your EHR, pay extra attention to the security measures applied. Opt for cloud-based HIPAA-compliant platforms that can protect all the data and ensure the highest level of safety.

EHR Implementation Costs

It’s worth noting that digitizing your business always requires a lot of financial resources. Therefore, you have to be ready that the process will be pretty expensive. However, taking into account all the benefits this is a worthy investment in your future growth.

Solution: You need to adjust your annual budget beforehand to make EHR implementation happen. Even though the process is pricey, it can significantly save your budget in the future as doctors will be more efficient and patients more satisfied.

medical appointment

Current System Compatibility

If you made a decision to integrate EHR, be ready to face compatibility challenges. Interoperability of EHR with other systems your hospital uses is extremely important. Since most hospitals use multiple platforms, it’s possible to encounter problems with their compatibility.

Solution: Contact your software development partner to seek advice regarding the compatibility of your systems with the future EHR you create. They can offer you a solution that will minimize the risks.

Employee Training

Another challenge that accompanies EHR integration is employee training. When you introduce the newly adopted system to your colleagues they will have a lot of questions and it’s going to take time to teach them how to use it properly.

Solution: Request your software development provider to dedicate their time and resources to assist your hospital in the transition to a new system and provide additional training to leave no questions to those who will use EHR in the future. As an option, write a guide that will serve as a helping point to coworkers.

Workflow Interruptions

Some healthcare organizations still rely heavily on their paper documentation and introducing EHR can gravely interrupt old workflows. Another possible drawback is that not all hospitals have enough computers to provide each doctor with the required hardware.

Solution: It’s obligatory to keep EHR implementation in mind when setting up the workflows. Chances are high, you will have to adjust them a lot as well as update records accordingly to make everything fit the system you are planning to introduce. For some clinics, it will mean minor changes and for some of them, it can mean starting from scratch.

doctor

Consider Intellectsoft Your Trusted Partner

If your business needs to integrate EHR systems, don’t hesitate to consider Intellectsoft your trusted software development partner. For more than 15 years, our company operates on the market and offers outstanding digital solutions to our clients all over the world.

Feel free to check out our healthcare IT services and dental software development services to see what makes our company stand out among the competition. Intellectsoft’s professionals can create any type of software that your company needs.

Although our expertise includes extensive experience collaborating with medical and dental companies, we have experience working with fintech, construction, hospitality, and automotive companies.

Contact us to discuss your ideas and technical requirements and we will provide you with more information regarding our future collaboration.

In addition, take a look at the list of full client success stories to see what challenges our clients were facing and what solutions we created for them in order to help them overcome issues and grow their businesses through effective digitalization.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Electronic Health Record integration can make a big difference for a healthcare institution. Reasons to implement machine learning in healthcare as well as practice management and EHR systems are infinite as these technologies are aimed at facilitating many internal processes.

Intellectsoft’s team has accumulated our best practices and experience with clients to give you insights not just on the advantages of integrating EHR but also on the main challenges related to this process as well as solutions that will help you on your way. It’s time for your company to make your first step toward a more digitized and patient-oriented business that will grow exponentially. EHR is a system that has the potential to fully transform and automate your healthcare business and take it to a whole new level.

FAQ

Why is EHR integration important?

The importance of an EHR system in healthcare is not overrated. It’s a modern platform that opens a full range of new possibilities not just to healthcare providers but also to patients as well. First of all, this system digitizes all the outdated hospital processes and makes all the daily tasks more simple and streamlined.

Technologies reduce the risk of human error, retain employees, minimize time spent on administrative routines to better communicate with patients, and spend more time offering quality treatment and, respectively, boosting overall patient satisfaction. In addition, EHR is very safe and secure which prevents potential data breaches.

What are the challenges of implementing EHR?

Among the main challenges associated with EHR system implementation are  privacy concerns, current system compatibility issues, as well as possible workflow interruptions. Also, the implementation process of this software is going to require some financial investment as it’s pretty costly. Moreover, additional time and expenses are going to be needed for employee training as well.

How do you overcome EHR challenges?

It's crucial to understand that these are only potential risks and you can avoid them on your way. If you decide to implement an EHR system, you can start preparing beforehand. Carefully explore all potential challenges and decide which of them can hinder your path to the system's successful implementation. Contact your software development partner to clearly define the budget so you know what to count on. Before starting the process, it’s paramount to educate your employees so they are ready for new software. Being prepared to face these issues will make it easier to overcome them.

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