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EHRs & Telemedicine: The Benefits of Integration

ehr telemedicine integration

Telehealth facilitates remote connection between patients and healthcare providers when face-to-face consultations aren’t feasible or necessary. This method encompasses both synchronous (real-time) interactions and asynchronous tools. The latter uses a store-and-forward system, through which information is exchanged later rather than in real-time.

Although these healthcare interactions have been around for a while, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the use of these technologies, ensuring continued access to essential health services.

To stay competitive, keeping up with the latest developments in modern healthcare is paramount. Read on and see why healthcare providers need telehealth and EHR integrations in today’s healthcare landscape. 

Telemedicine in Modern Healthcare

According to the CDC, the most notable surge in virtual visits during the pandemic was in the 13th week of surveillance, growing by 154%. Telehealth utilization among Medicare beneficiaries also increased 63-fold during the pandemic. 

Despite a decline in telehealth usage since its peak, healthcare providers and patients continue to recognize its importance in enhancing healthcare delivery and accessibility.

Patients Continue to Rely on Telehealth

The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study reveals a growing preference among consumers for telehealth over traditional in-person appointments for routine healthcare needs, particularly: 

  • Prescription refills
  • Medical result discussions
  • Assessments of medication options

An overwhelming 94% of those who have used telehealth express willingness to continue using it for medical services in the future. The National Survey Trends in Telehealth Utilization and Modality (2021 to 2022) also indicates consistent telehealth usage, with a slight inclination towards video-based services over audio-only options. 

Three main factors drive preference toward telehealth: 

  • Convenience
  • Ability to receive care quickly 
  • Ease of obtaining health information

Providers Agree That Telehealth Is Integral to Patient Care

In general, providers consider telehealth to be a valuable part of healthcare. AMA’s Telehealth Survey of 2021 revealed these statistics:

  • 85% of physicians offer telehealth at present. Those reporting a drop in use combine face-to-face and virtual care. 
  • 93% of those using telehealth conduct real-time video sessions with patients, while 69% use audio sessions.
  • Over 56% of respondents plan to increase telehealth usage in their practices. Among respondents, 54.2% reported that telehealth had a positive impact on their work satisfaction.
  • Approximately 60% of clinicians agree that telehealth allows them to offer high-quality care.
  • Almost half of respondents reported a decrease in health care costs as a result of telehealth. 

To optimize telehealth, physicians, practices, and health systems must address the following areas:

  • Providing equitable access to underserved populations and communities
  • Enhancing efficiency in telehealth workflows
  • Adopting a system with EHR and telehealth integration

Key Advantages of EHR and Telehealth Integration

Below are the benefits of an integrated EHR and telehealth system that address various aspects of patient care and healthcare management.

1. Higher Quality of Care

Integrating telehealth with EHRs enables healthcare providers to access complete, up-to-date patient records during virtual consultations. This comprehensive view of the patient’s medical history, including past diagnoses, treatments, and medications, allows for more accurate assessments, personalized care plans, and informed decision-making.

2. Increased Accessibility and Convenience for Patients

EHR with telehealth makes healthcare more accessible, especially for patients with mobility issues or in remote areas. Patients receive quality care at home, which reduces travel and wait times. This mainly benefits patients with chronic conditions requiring regular monitoring and consultation.

3. Improved Coordination of Care

EHR and telehealth integration facilitates better coordination among different healthcare providers. With shared access to patient records, specialists, general practitioners, and other healthcare professionals collaborate more effectively, ensuring a coordinated approach to patient care.

4. Enhanced Patient Engagement and Satisfaction

Patients easily view their health records, track their progress, and communicate with their doctors through portals. This transparency and ease of access lead to higher patient engagement and satisfaction.

5. Streamlined Workflow for Healthcare Providers

Telehealth and EHR integration streamline administrative tasks for healthcare providers, automating many routine processes, such as appointment scheduling, billing, and record-keeping. This efficiency allows them to focus more on patient care over administrative duties.

6. Better Data Security and Compliance

The telehealth and EHR software combination often includes advanced security measures to protect sensitive patient data. Compliance with HIPAA regulations is also more manageable, as integrated systems are designed with these requirements in mind.

7. Support for Public Health Initiatives

Integrated EHR and telehealth systems enable the tracking of health trends, the management of disease outbreaks, and the facilitation of research and policy-making.

8. Improved Healthcare Outcomes

Access to patient data and improved care coordination lead to better health outcomes. Providers more effectively manage chronic diseases, respond to patient needs in real-time, and prevent complications through ongoing monitoring and early intervention. There’s evidence that telehealth has fewer emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and in-person visits than non-users.

Telehealth & EHR: Features of an Integrated System

A well-integrated telehealth and EHR system typically includes the following features:

1. Patient Health Records Access

This feature lets patients and healthcare providers view and manage medical records online. Patients easily see their medical history, test results, and other health information. This promotes patient engagement and a better understanding of their health conditions. For healthcare providers, it offers quick access to patient data for more informed decision-making.

2. Appointment Scheduling and Reminders

This EHR telemedicine tool simplifies the process of scheduling telehealth appointments. Patients can choose available slots and book appointments online. The system also sends automated reminders via text, email, or app notifications, reducing the likelihood of no-shows.

3. Remote Patient Monitoring

Your EHR must integrate data from wearable health devices or home monitoring equipment. This feature allows healthcare providers to continuously track patients’ vital signs, like heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. These stats are vital in managing chronic conditions.

4. Prescription Management

A well-integrated telemedicine EHR software allows physicians to prescribe medications electronically. Patients can view their prescriptions, dosages, and instructions through their patient portal, ensuring they have clear information about their medications.

5. Billing and Insurance Integration

Enhance your billing process through automated coding tools and seamless connections with insurance providers. This integration minimizes administrative tasks and aids in efficient claims processing.

6. Clinical Decision Support

A high-quality EHR and telemedicine integration comes with a  tool that provides clinical guidelines, diagnostic assistance, and tailored treatment suggestions based on patient data. It ensures that the care patients receive is in line with the latest medical standards and best practices.

7. Customizable Patient Portals

Patients have access to a portal that enables them to view their health information, communicate with their doctors, and schedule appointments. These portals also include features like health trackers and customized health tips.

8. Data Analytics and Reporting 

These tools help identify health trends, evaluate treatment outcomes, and develop improved care plans. The data from your EHR is crucial for advancing quality improvement efforts and supporting research initiatives.

9. Automated Health Assessments and Questionnaires

Before their appointments, patients have the option to fill out health assessments and questionnaires online. By doing so, they offer healthcare providers timely insights into their health status, which facilitates more efficient and effective consultations. 

10. Secure Messaging

This feature provides a HIPAA-compliant platform for communication between patients and healthcare providers. It allows the secure exchange of messages, documents, and images, facilitating ongoing communication and follow-up care.

11. Interoperability and Compliance

This functionality guarantees that the system can interact and share data with other healthcare systems and databases. It ensures compliance with health data privacy regulations such as HIPAA, which is crucial for protecting patient data privacy and security. 

Choose the Top EHR and EMR Software

Combining EHRs with telemedicine is a major step in the digital transformation of healthcare. This integration offers numerous benefits that enhance medical care, improve patients’ health outcomes, and streamline healthcare delivery processes. 

By choosing our EMR/EHR solutions, healthcare institutions leverage the transformative power of telehealth, ensuring efficient, secure, and high-quality patient care. Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Let’s work together to find the best Telemedicine EHR Software for your practice!

Do you have a favorite EHR and EMR add-on service? Feel free to comment below. 

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