What are the best practices when connecting to EMRs?
The rate of electronic medical record adoption will increase dramatically over the next 5 years. With the rise of connecting the healthcare community electronically, developing an increasing number of Electronic Medical Record (EMR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be... interfaces is a reality. To address the demands of EMR connectivity, organizations need to take a systematic approach to simplify the challenge.
First, you need to determine your strategic approach to EMR connectivity. To identify your integration strategy, focus on answering two key questions. First, is EMR connectivity established on your time schedule or is it done in a very customer responsive way? Second, does the EMR interface have to meet your specifications or do you adapt the data format that the physician delivers? Highly responsive and flexible – that’s the goal. The answer to these two questions will lead you to better defining your interfacing approach. It comes down to two options – Point-to-point interfaces vs. an interface engine. Point-to-point interfaces may provide a simple approach, but they’re only maintainable with a very small number of EMR interfaces. An interface engine provides the flexibility and scalability to meet the demands in a very manageable manner.
After the strategy is determined, it comes down to answer the second question. How will we approach implementing our EMR connectivity strategy? It’s all about tactics. The tactics can be divided into three key areas. Start by defining the workflow within your organization and on the EMR side – identifying goals, business rules, and message types to be sent. Next, document all of the requirements – from data specifications and healthcare standards to additional vendor interfaces. Finally, you can build, test, and deploy the interface to facilitate the workflow and meet the application’s requirements.
The final question to answer is how to manage the integrated EMR environment. Just remember the three B’s:
- Be Proactive – In other words, know what is happening in your data exchanges at all times. This is enabled through a configurable interfacing alert system and a quickly accessible and easily understood interface dashboard.
- Be Responsive – If an issue arises, then it needs to be quickly addressed. This is enabled through easy access to message log files with intuitive search, filter, and resend capabilities.
- Be Productive – Offering a flexible, service-oriented approach to your healthcare community does not need to be draining to your team or your resources. Having flexible configuration for access and distribution of responsibilities will deliver and hand service levels in a productive and balanced manner.
At Corepoint Health, we would love to continue this EMR interfacing discussion with you.