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Making the EHR Transition to Telehealth

The tug of war between legacy systems and more modern platforms continues, as the digitization of many medical practices and hospitals across the globe upends the status quo. While the transition to newer systems has been inevitable, many are facing an unprecedented upgrade within a short time span in order to support telehealth initiatives.

As the trend towards telehealth continues, it has become more important than ever to streamline health record management, HIPAA compliance, and healthcare payments so that practitioners can focus on what matters most: patient care.

Problems with current EHRs

One of the biggest hurdles software developers face when building and improving Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems is disparate systems and lack of interoperability. Painting a full picture of a patient — from medical history to blood type to preferred payment method —requires the ability for systems to communicate effectively. Yet it is this very ability — viewing a patient’s information in its entirety — that enables efficient, effective care and lightning-fast treatment decisions, when needed.

Software developers must find a way to solve these pain points that medical practices face, and it requires integration with the right partners for the right results. Unfortunately, integration is a major pain point  —  a two-pronged pain point. On one hand, developers must enable seamless integration for practitioners, including the integration of legacy systems with new EHR technologies. This includes managing the changing nature of work from in-person to electronic systems and virtual encounters. On the other hand, developers must work hand-in-hand with vendors to ensure seamless integration of payments, billing, verification, and analytics capabilities into the core EHR system.

The former will demand thorough training and onboarding as well as clinical champions to spearhead internal efforts. The latter, which rests squarely on the shoulders of developers, can be tackled by looking at the requirements of the new telehealth ecosystem and what is needed to support it.

What is Needed to Streamline Telehealth

An effective EHR needs to have the basics -- the things that help healthcare customers operate a practice on a day-to-day level. In supporting the rapid adoption of telehealth offerings, EHR systems must also go above and beyond by partnering with vendors that have specific domain expertise that can enhance the system to meet all the requirements a medical practice may have. This means integrating with vendors that simplify integration and do much of the heavy lifting.

Developers should consider the following functionality in supporting medical practice customers:

Claims management: integration with a strong medical claims clearinghouse enables your customers to send claims electronically, improve cash flow, and get paid faster.

Billing & revenue cycle optimization: practices benefit when their EHRs enable transparent billing via a secure and HIPAA-compliant connection. This streamlines ledger reconciliation and plays well with claims management to ensure fast and effective follow-up on claim rejections and denials.

Insurance verification: Instant verification cuts down on claim denials related to patient ineligibility. Efficient insurance verification nips that problem in the bud and enables the practice to offer a better customer experience.

Payment processing: the ability to accept multiple payment methods and easily reconcile payments saves time and reduces human error. This key component to any EHR system should allow practices to offer their customers secure options to pay how they want, including online, over the phone, chip card, or mobile payments. The more robust the payment processing functionality, the easier it is for practices to set up and accept recurring payments automatically, interact with customers via electronic statements, and to automate reconciliation.

Analysis & insights: the ability to analyze data, track key metrics over time, and simplify insights from multiple systems allows practices to quickly identify areas that need improvement as well as missed opportunities across scheduling, payments collection, and more.

The key component across all of these integrations and functions is the ability to interact with patients, internal departments, and external vendors electronically. In the age of telehealth, this is essential. The more that EHR systems can make the transition seamless for patients, the more seamless the transition will be for medical practices.

Customers have certain expectations in 2020 about how easy it should be to pay, communicate with their medical providers, and schedule appointments. Software developers must hone in on these expectations in building a robust EHR that can rise to the occasion. Enabling electronic customer statements via email or text, facilitating online payments, and enabling communication through electronic means builds patient trust.

Developers are tasked with a tall order: find the right partners that offer flexible functionality to elevate the EHR experience from the bottom up. Fulfilling this will make the global transition to telehealth simpler while enabling medical practice customers to grow.



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