Many of the today’s leading health information technology organizations that offer a full suite of solutions, such as McKesson, are on a general trend of developing less and less software. As these organizations dedicate fewer resources to maintaining their previous developed software it makes it hard to trust in these organizations as long term partners, especially as their cost effective solutions continue to diminish in lieu of higher priced offerings. When it comes to the EHR space, McKesson is unique, as unlike many EHR vendors that offer only a single product, McKesson offers multiple. These include McKesson Practice Plus, Paragon and InteGreat EHR. (more…)
Tag Archives: patient portal interface
Many of the today’s leading Electronic Health Records (EHR) organizations, such as Greenway Health™, are challenged to provide a patient-centric, user friendly experience for their patient portal users. This is especially true when the EHR is being used as part of an Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) which uses multiple EHRs. The primary issues we have identified in this scenario include: (more…)
Many of the today’s leading Electronic Health Records (EHR) organizations, such as GE Centricity™, are challenged to provide a patient-centric, user friendly experience for their patient portal users. Often times the patient portal is an afterthought to the core product offered by EHR software companies and the portal is left without core functionality. Some of the biggest issues we have discovered in organizations using EHR-bundled patient portals include: (more…)
Many of the today’s leading Electronic Health Records (EHR) organizations, such as Athenahealth®, are challenged with interoperability issues when they are operating in Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) that include inpatient and outpatient facilities. Frequently the EHR bundled portals from the larger hospitals or facilities become the primary portal, and the other patient portals, such as Athenahealth’s, are used less frequently used. The main issues we have discovered in organizations using EHR bundled patient portals in IDNs with multiple EHRs are the following: (more…)
Many of the today’s leading Electronic Health Records (EHR) organizations, such as NextGen®, offer an EHR bundled patient portal that offers convenience and cost savings to their customers. However, EHR bundled patient portals are often an afterthought to the core product offered by EHR software companies and the portals are left without core functionality. Some of the biggest issues we have discovered in organizations using EHR-bundled patient portals include:
Helathcare interoperability has become a hot topic in the world of health IT – yet due to its inherent complexity, it remains the biggest hurdle to efficient and effective use of communication across a broad spectrum of systems and solutions. Whether healthcare organizations are using EMRs, telemedicine, patient portals, mHealth or EMPIs, it is necessary for there to be a “common denominator” between those systems in order to achieve interconnectivity. The common denominator is an open architecture platform by which all communication can occur.
Google and Apple are two high-profile examples of open architecture platforms – Google with Android and Apple with iOS. Both companies encourage the introduction of new, highly useful functionality through plug-n-play applications, despite having been developed by different companies. Not all companies, however, are as open and welcoming as Apple and Google.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are the closed architecture platforms such as Epic and Greenway that don’t easily allow for third-party vendors to interface with their EMRs. Meaningful Use has forced these companies to allow interoperability, albeit not without varying degrees of resistance.
If the healthcare industry wants to go down the path that leads to interoperability, open sources, open standards and open platforms are the vehicles that are going to lead us there – and the keys with which to start these vehicles are application programming interfaces (APIs). APIs will specify how software components will interact with one another when all the systems involved are tied together. APIs, for example, can tie-in multiple EMRs so that data is shared easily between different systems.
What to look for when tying together multiple systems?
In order to facilitate a successful interface, the first thing to look for is that the system being used is on an open source architecture. Here are some other key areas to focus on when engaging with and selecting an API interface engine vendor:
- The prospective vendor should use an open architecture. Mirth Connect is one choice. It is one of the largest open source architecture platforms within the healthcare space. Mirth Connect provides the necessary tools for API interface vendors to develop, test, deploy and monitor an interface; and it has a large and active community of users. Whatever architecture is used, adaptability and flexibility are key to a successful interface.
- Choose a developed API that can handle multiple EMRs. Even if you currently operate with a single EMR, at some point in the future you may want to add another software system, such as practice management or billing. This will require building an EMR interface. If the vendor you choose already handles multiple EMRs through its API, you know they will be ready should those changes occur. It’s important to keep in mind that each organization is unique in its structure, areas of specialty, personnel and workflow processes. Even if a vendor has not currently developed a specific API with your EMR, don’t eliminate them from your list. What matters is that they have experience successfully interfacing previous client spec requirements.
- Select a combined EMR and patient portal that meets or preferably exceeds Meaningful Use attestation. For some organizations it’s all about meeting the minimal requirements in order to receive Meaningful Use funding. However, it is important to note that the Meaningful Use program is currently in its early stages, and attestation requirements could still be added or removed. For example, due to uncertainties regarding the likelihood of patient engagement, revisions could still be made to future requirements for Meaningful Use. Being on board with a vendor who is “ahead of the curve” will go a long way in saving future changes (and headaches) from being made to your system.
There is no question that open platforms within the health IT world are inevitable. When that becomes the common knowledge, the possibilities for improvement within the healthcare industry will be endless.
This article was originally published on the Medical Web Experts blog.