Before buying the latest technology platform for your practice, there are a few key factors you should inquire about before finalizing any purchase. A few of these considerations include affordability, potential ROI for your practice, features and benefits, tech support, and one of the most important factors: interoperability.
Any new technology that does not interface with your current technology platforms could potentially add time to your staff’s workflows and could ultimately result in lost or missed revenue for your medical practice. Fortunately, many companies, including Klara, are designing new technology platforms to function cooperatively with many EHR platforms throughout the healthcare space, further streamlining patient engagement and information management in medical practices.
- Interoperability is the capability of technology platforms to communicate with one another and share information.
- In a medical practice, there are many potential benefits to having technology platforms interface with the EHR platform including saved time, reclaimed revenue, and reduced opportunity for error.
- Some examples of medical practice technology that should interface with the EHR include patient communication platforms, telemedicine platforms, medical billing platforms, and more.
Why is interoperability so important for medical office technology?
Interoperability of platforms ensures that technology has the ability to “talk” back and forth with each other so that when new information is received, it is updated across all platforms and reflected in the patient’s record.
Consider a patient portal, for example — if a patient requests a refill, reports a reaction to a prescription, or schedules a new appointment via a patient messaging platform, the information should ideally be updated in the patient’s EHR. Otherwise, one of your staff members must manually transcribe the information into the EHR, adding time to their workflow, which could essentially nullify the technology’s potential benefits of improved efficiencies and outcomes.
Interoperable technology can help save your staff time from updating records and transcribing patient information from one platform to another. Interoperability may also improve patient outcomes, as medical records will contain the most accurate and recent information about patients’ health and recent patient encounters. The fewer staff “touches” that are needed to communicate or document each piece of information, the less opportunity there is for human error to cause mistakes.
Which technology platforms should interface with your EHR?
While there are many types of technology that you should consider interfacing with your EHR, here are a few examples that may help your practice yield efficiency results and ROI:
- Patient engagement and communication platforms – as referenced above, interactions with patients should ideally be updated in the patient’s medical record via the EHR platform. When patients communicate via a patient messaging platform, updates to their medical records should happen seamlessly. Examples of this could include when a patient asks a medical question, provides feedback about medications or reactions, schedules a new appointment, requests a refill, or communicates new symptoms they are experiencing.
- Telehealth and remote care platforms – Telehealth platforms should also interface with your EHR so that during the visit and once the virtual visit is complete, the patient record can be updated with any important information from the visit: the reason for the visit, symptoms, diagnosis, prescriptions, follow-up, etc.
- Medical billing platforms – Interfacing your medical billing platform with your EHR may help you to get reimbursed more quickly and may even help to reduce claims denials. The medical billing system should be interfaced so it is updated with the latest billing codes from the most recent patient appointment that has been logged into the patient’s record. The billing system will then help generate alerts and reminders to keep payments on track from the insurers and from patients.
- Appointment scheduling platforms – Appointment scheduling platforms should also interface with your EHR platform so that once an appointment is scheduled, canceled, or rescheduled, the patient’s medical record is updated accordingly.
- E-prescribing platforms – For increased patient safety and for improved patient outcomes, e-prescribing platforms should also interface seamlessly with your EHR technology. This can help prevent harmful drug interactions, help track side effects, refills, and more.
Interoperability of your technology platforms together with your EHR and PM platforms helps keep your patients’ medical records accurate and up to date with the most recent activity, including prescriptions, symptoms, appointments, payments, and more.
While many existing technology platforms are currently being updated (or retrofitted) to interface with legacy technology, the ideal product you choose should be one that was initially designed with interoperability in mind.
Klara’s conversational engagement platform, for example, is working towards the common goal of improving healthcare processes to deliver a seamless, patient-centric experience. In order to achieve this, Klara is investing in its network of EHR interfaces which currently includes ModMed®, athenahealth, Nextech, Greenway Health, Allscripts, AdvancedMD, and more. If you’re looking for a patient engagement platform that interfaces with your EHR, click here to book a demo.