EHR Integration Challenges

Key Takeaways

  • Unexpected costs for the software, training and support are one of the biggest challenges you face when implementing an EHR.
  • Lack of training is a significant challenge that can be reduced by preparing ahead of time for employee training and possibly employing a consultant to speed up the process.
  • Security concerns are another crucial challenge to take into account. To safeguard patient data from identity thieves and other cyber criminals, employ passwords and a powerful firewall.
  • If you work out all the logistics with your software supplier before deployment, you can reduce the chance of interoperability issues between your new EHR program and other software that is currently installed.

By 2024, it is anticipated that the market for digital health technologies—including blockchain, telemedicine, wireless medical devices, and other emerging trends—will be worth $379 billion.

Healthcare organizations are attempting to comprehend the difficulties in integrating digital health technologies with their electronic health record (EHR) systems at the same time that they are adopting these technologies.

This makes sense given that EHR integrations involve issues that go beyond just technological difficulties, such as APIs (i.e., protocols that let various systems connect with one another), and organizational and regulatory concerns.

Let’s take a step back and quickly define EHR integration before diving into that subject to better understand why healthcare firms need to be aware of it.

How do EHR integrations work?

EHR integration, at its most basic, is the incorporation of digital healthcare technology into the EHR system, such as a wireless vital signs monitor or analytics platform.

The goal of EHR integration is to enable smooth patient data sharing between different electronic devices and the EHR. One illustration would be a hospital updating a patient’s electronic health record (EHR) with data from their most recent X-ray.

There are certainly a number of different situations that could happen, and digital healthcare technologies hold a lot of promise. The healthcare sector is enthusiastic, but there are significant obstacles to EHR integration that need to be removed before that potential can be realized.

Why should you invest in EHR integration?

An integrated EHR system fosters communication between all offices, clinics, and facilities that are involved in patient care. Patients can get this information via patient portals as well. Instant access to patient records is made possible by these connected systems. To give patients the best care possible, you may update data in real time, share it with other physicians, and make sure everyone is on the same page. Workflows are also streamlined and automated by this technology.

EHR software development provides medical professionals with three advantages thrust towards digitalization, market capitalization, software monetization. At the same time it offers business advantages to the medical practice itself, operational advantages to the healthcare professionals, and advantages to the patients. Whether you are a business owner looking to have customized EHR software created or a doctor considering having customized EHR software created for your personal practice.

Here are a few reasons to convert to an integrated, completely digital EHR/EMR system if you’re still using paper files. 

1. Reduces Errors and Risks:

Diagnostics are expedited thanks to an integrated data system that stores complete and conveniently accessible medical information. EHRs not only transmit and store data, but they also evaluate it. These systems, for instance, double-check a patient’s current medications and allergies and notify the medical staff of any potential inconsistencies. Clinical notifications and reminders, improved research, and other advantages. 

2. Increases Practice Efficiency:

EHR integrations digitize and automate the time-consuming administrative tasks that take up 30% of practice time. Then, this time can be redirected and used for things that are more crucial. For instance, to link appointments directly to progress notes, these systems can be coupled with scheduling platforms. They can also automate coding, invoicing, and manage claims, prescription refills, etc. 

3. Increase patient satisfaction:

Patients can access all of their medical data, lab test results, and care team communications through patient portals, which also lowers paperwork and improves patient satisfaction. The availability of resources enables patients to take a more active role in their care, resulting in better overall health and higher happiness.

Top 10 issues with EHR implementation

EHR implementation in a healthcare system is more difficult than it seems. The implementation of an electronic health records system may provide a number of difficulties. The providers can minimize unnecessary data sharing and facilitate the process of moving from traditional to digital health data storage by being aware of the EHR problems in advance. The top obstacles that providers should be aware of when implementing EHR are listed below.

1. Cost of Execution

It should come as no surprise that the cost of EHR deployment is high. The majority of the anticipated capital budget investment will be used for the selection, installation, and optimization of EHR. According to a study report, the price per provider to buy and implement an EHR system ranges from $15,000 to $70,000. The hardware setup, software charges, implementation assistance, staff training, ongoing network fees, and maintenance can all be grouped under the heading of “implementation process.” Unexpected costs may also arise during the implementation. One of the biggest obstacles, especially for smaller companies, is finding the necessary financial resources for EHR adoption.

2. Staff resistance

The idea of using EHRs in the establishment continues to face opposition from staff members. Additionally, some medical professionals have concerns about the privacy protocols and the effectiveness of electronic health records. Due to the absence of digital integration, they can be reluctant to abandon the documentation process. In certain circumstances, the staff is unaware of the most recent technology developments and the extensive advantages of implementing an EHR. It causes the implementation of EHR to be delayed.

3. Training requires a lot of time

The staff needs to receive thorough training on the new process prior to the adoption of EHR systems. The medical staff and providers must devote more time and effort to learning the new system and effectively modifying their work. It is time-consuming and tedious to both the workforce and management. Because they are concerned about losing revenue during the training process, small and mid-sized firms put barriers in the way of the installation of EHR systems. The staff might occasionally think it’s a waste of their time as well.

4. Poor usability

Providers struggle to adapt to an EHR system if it cannot be made to fit within the current workflow. The one-size-fits-all criterion is unsuitable for the EHR system because a therapist’s workflow differs from a cardiologist’s and vice versa. The EHR software is harder to use because of design problems or inadequate training. Health outcomes for patients may be fatally affected by compromised health care data.

5. Data Security & data privacy

Another major barrier for EHR is the community of patients and providers’ concerns about data privacy. The prospect of data loss as a result of a natural disaster or a cyberattack usually causes concern among stakeholders. The federal rule has established a nationwide policy to guarantee the privacy of personal health information. A security breach might land the organization in legal problems and force it to spend millions of dollars to fix the problem. As a result, the provider now has a primary responsibility to ensure the data security of the EHR systems.

6. Data Migration

The staff’s attempt to convert paper-based records to digital records is a logistical nightmare. Numerous documentation detailing the medical histories of many patients will be present, making data input a laborious and time-consuming operation for the staff. If there is an improper format in the old system, this is one of the primary EHR adoption issues for hospitals, and the effort is twice.

7. Technical Resource Limitations

One of the difficulties with EHR deployment that small clinical settings and private health practitioners frequently encounter is this one. Rarely do they have a technical expertise and provider oversight in-house team. Additionally, they might not have the gear needed to set up the EHR solution. It is highly expensive to build an internal team with the appropriate people and the necessary expertise, as well as to buy technology, which is one of the main reasons why small and mid-sized healthcare facilities delay deploying EHRs.

8. Interoperability Challenges

Health data integration is a process known as interoperability, which makes it possible for hospitals and providers to communicate information more easily. Interoperability enables physicians and healthcare professionals to have access to patient data in a structured and aggregated manner to provide better treatment and care. Despite the fact that interoperability in EHR is crucial for comprehending a patient’s whole medical history, it nevertheless presents a big obstacle to accurate data transfer. Lack of interoperability might make it difficult to coordinate care, and unfavorable health consequences can make it difficult to identify the source of medical assistance.

9. Insufficient planning

More or less, implementing an EHR results in a culture shift within the company as opposed to merely a technological one. As a result, the installation of an EHR presents a significant managerial transformation. All stakeholders must be committed, and it must be strategically planned. Data breaches and cybersecurity dangers to patient information might result from not having a structured plan for EHR deployment. Without extensive planning, the effective adoption and durability of the EHR systems may seem like a distant dream.

10. Insufficient Communication

The communication process between the IT vendor, healthcare provider,  and patients is essential to creating an EHR system that delivers the desired results. It is a process, not a one-time event, to make sure that everyone’s expectations are met. The vendor should be able to supply effective tools that satisfy the provider’s needs while also taking into account the provider’s worries and suggestions. Without efficient communication, the objectives cannot be met, which contributes to the vast majority of EHR integration issues.

How to fix issues with EHR integration

The difficulties with data integration that come with integrating health may worry you. Let us assure you that these obstacles to healthcare integration may be surmounted.

1. Eliminate data silos:

It is best to prevent silos because they might lead to problems. Siloed data makes integration difficult, and if you have a variety of data types, the problem can get worse. Choosing standardized data is one of the simplest techniques. This will prepare data for integration and help you overcome integration problems in the healthcare industry.

2. Solve HL7 healthcare integration challenges:

HL7 interface engines can be used to fix problems with the application interface that arise during HL7 integration in the healthcare industry. PHI ought to be kept in a backup database that will alert you to security threats. Health APIs are also available from software developers and healthcare organizations. These enable data exchange between many platforms for healthcare integration. Additionally, you would have cost-effective real-time access to patient records from all providers and streamlined invoicing.

3. Contemporary models:

Create your integrated plan using cutting-edge technologies like the cloud, mHealth, and telehealth. It will enhance the delivery of integrated care. Users are now able to include useful data thanks to new generation technology and healthcare analytics solutions.

4. Data enrichment:

Clinical data analytics with specialized healthcare products, such as semantics, enrich data. You could overcome difficulties with healthcare integration with this. Healthcare providers and population health management will both benefit from such an approach. Semantics can aid users in recognizing the difference when an image in an EMR depicts a broken arm but the claim describes it differently. In order to overcome the difficulties of healthcare integration, data enrichment encourages data mobility and merging.

5. Create a comprehensive strategy:

Data from different sources and types is handled by integrated healthcare information systems. Healthcare organizations are in fierce competition with one another. The problems would be solved by developing an agile infrastructure and clinical informatics solutions. It will help you stay one step ahead of any rivals. The healthcare industry can also use vertical integration. Organizations from many levels of the supply chain collaborate during this process. This is distinct from horizontal integration, which takes place when businesses in the same market join forces. Healthcare cost savings are made possible by vertical integration. For addressing healthcare integration obstacles, you need to create an efficient integrated approach.

Conclusion

A typical integration process for healthcare organisations is the adoption of EHRs. In today’s healthcare system, relevant EHR systems that are user-certified are the norm. They also put providers at risk. They can get better healthcare if the EHR is implemented properly.

However, there are other barriers to the adoption of EHR that can be addressed with careful planning and effective implementation. EHR programs need to be modified to meet the way doctors now work. IT experts with knowledge of EHR platforms and clinical workflows are needed for this. Patient-centered care will be possible thanks to interoperability, which will also increase provider awareness of patients’ problems. EHR will play a significant role in enabling future technological developments.

EHR integration presents both medical institutions and patients with a number of difficulties, but it also offers many advantages that outweigh these drawbacks. Get in touch with Arkenea for smooth EHR integrations if you want to take advantage of the EHR integration, including improved patient satisfaction and experience, and transform your business into a world-class medical center.