Beyond EHR: What Other Integrations Should You Consider for Your Enterprise Telehealth Strategy?By: Caregility Team
There are two approaches that one can take when innovating in the healthcare space. One method is highly technology-driven providing an end-to-end solution. The other is patient-centered with the focus being on the patient and clinician experience.
The latter method, Caregility’s method, is to be purpose-built. We meet our customers where they are at. Baked into our DNA, we strive to listen to our customers, their patients, their clinicians, and understand each clinical workflow, environment, or system. This guides our product development across the entire portfolio, both software and hardware. We evaluate every click a clinician must make, every voice that must be heard, and every situation that must be visually assessed. This relentless attention drives our designs, innovations, and interoperability with other solutions. Together, we are stronger.
Admittedly, I am biased as I have experienced both sides. There is a fair use case for following the first strategy. You may think of it as “soup to nuts.” Organizations that are at the absolute beginning of their journey, with minimal existing infrastructure or investment into other solutions, are often attracted to a telehealth platform that has already predefined all the workflows needed. And, that may be the right choice at the time.
But as these organizations gain momentum, they realize that their clinicians, facilities, and service lines all have their own specialty needs and unique workflows. They want customizations or solutions to meet each situation and yet they need a seamless user interface to support and maintain. The result is many solutions to manage versus one universal platform that meets all use cases escalating resource and financial consumption.
I’ve seen this scenario time and again. Either create point solutions for each individual scenario or orchestrate care leveraging all your resources seamlessly. I strongly believe in the second philosophy. Flexibility, adaptability, scalability, and interoperability should always be the governing principles in choosing any solution for delivering patient centered care.
For telehealth, the right approach means integrating with other solutions, platforms, and technologies. But before we walk through all the ways a telehealth solution can do that, let’s take care of the obvious first integration: with your EHR.
The Devil in the EHR Integration Details
Your virtual care platform absolutely must integrate with your hospital’s EHR. But as hospital IT directors are aware, when it comes to EHR integration, the devil is in the details.
One EHR may accept a range of third-party integrations each with its own user experience, while another may require those integrations exist only within the umbrella of the EHR’s own user experience. Some publish APIs for certain workflows, but not others.
If your organization is selecting a virtual care platform, it’s important to understand these details. Ask whether the capabilities being requested by your clinical staff are limited by what the EHR allows, or what the platform provides.
But this isn’t just another EHR integration point. The EHR is undoubtedly one of, if not the biggest technology investments your organization makes. But don’t let the EHR integration question overshadow other important integrations.
There are several categories that are important to consider.
What types of integrations are important for virtual care?
As I said, part of our DNA is listening to our customers. We believe in giving them the biggest, broadest choices possible. Here are some examples where listening to our customers has driven development of new integrations:
- Language interpretation services. Just as telehealth can be used to bring in various care specialists, sometimes specific language interpreters need to be brought in through remote video conference as well. If these two services don’t integrate, you are faced with paying for two different systems, just to provide the one consultation for a single patient. Ensuring that your language interpretation services can be integrated into existing systems avoids crowding in the patient room and duplicative investments.
- Clinical decision support. Clinical support applications are important tools for providing evidence-based, proactive care delivery for all types of patients. Having the ability to validate CDS data with real-time video analysis elevates any virtual nursing assessment. It perpetuates early intervention, improved outcomes, and provides the ability to scale resources across multiple facilities and healthcare settings.
- Remote patient monitoring & device integrations. There are several healthcare companies that specialize in remote patient monitoring to help health systems manage patients during recovery as well as long-term chronic care for patients outside the hospital. Usually, these solutions pair Internet-enabled medical devices with software applications that aggregate health information collected by the patient, analyze it, and transmit it to clinicians. Being able to integrate such a program into an enterprise-wide telehealth strategy will avoid duplication of services and help make the best use of the investment.
- Caregility has a wide ecosystem of partnerships with remote patient monitoring solutions.
- Digital front doors. These are health consumer portals that handle appointment setting, notifications, and reminders. Some EHRs provide portions of this capability but leave space for other technologies to specialize in streamlined digital front door experiences. These solutions can also enhance the virtual patient and clinician sessions for a variety of non-emergent use cases. Their goals are to ensure tight integration, avoid duplicate reminders and customer confusion about where they should go to access services.
- Caregility integrates with Andor Health digital front door solutions.
- Patient engagement platforms. Patient engagement platforms provide a range of services to patients during a hospital stay besides giving them entertainment, from showing the menu to order food, to displaying a calendar or giving information about their care team. Like many of the examples above, without proper integration the hospital will need to invest in duplicative hardware, crowding the room with additional screens and complicating the experience for patients and families.
Benefits of telehealth integration
Choosing a virtual care platform that integrates with innovative and legacy investments has made making the right decision a tall order.
With Caregility, you get an award-winning, enterprise-grade virtual care platform that offers a responsive, self-healing, purpose-built end-to-end telehealth for any use case – combined with the ability to integrate with multiple important systems.
Each offering is a story about a customer need satisfied, an investment maximized, a clinician’s job made easier, and a patient’s journey simplified.
This post was contributed by Jenna Walls, Vice President of Partnerships at Caregility