What is EPIC and EMR Integration Challenges

emr

Epic EMR Integration means integrating Epic software with your Healthcare business system to enhance your management and operational experience. Integrated Epic EMR systems are EMR (Electronic Medical Record) or EHR (Electronic Health Record) systems which are a collection of records and information like the medical history of patients, ongoing treatment, and upcoming appointments, etc. in an organized manner. These records have the potential to provide benefits to physicians, clinic practices, and health care organizations. Epic is a cloud-based EHR solution catering to a number of specialities. Here we’ll know What is EPIC and EMR Integration Challenges.

By integrating it with the Epic system, doctors, physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers can easily add, update, store and view patients’ medical and health records.

What is Epic EMR?

Epic is a cloud-based EHR solution catering to a number of specialities. The software is in use across a broad range of practices, from community hospitals and independent practices to multi-speciality hospital groups and hospice care providers.

Epic is an electronic medical record system (EMR) and a world leader in providing hospitals with enterprise solutions for inpatient and ambulatory clinical, departmental, access, revenue cycle and practice management functions.

Epic offers the standard range of ‘core’ EHR features, and practices can add modules depending on speciality. Epic has a strong focus on patient engagement and facilitating remote care.

What is Epic software used for?

Epic’s applications support functions related to patient care, including registration and scheduling; clinical systems for doctors, nurses, emergency personnel, and other care providers; systems for lab technologists, pharmacists, and radiologists; and billing systems for insurers.

Epic Software Features

  • Appointment Management
  • Billing Management
  • Clinical Workflow
  • Document Management
  • Insurance and Claims
  • Lab Integration
  • Medical Templates
  • Patient Demographics
  • Patient History
  • Patient Portal
  • Referrals
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Scheduling
  • Voice Recognition
  • e-Prescription

EMR Integration Challenges

There are currently two main categories of challenges during EHR integration:

1. Technical Challenge

The requisite for healthcare digital integration is getting providers to adopt EHRs; this is like the way high-speed broadband internet connectivity was a necessity to many internet-based services. EHR systems are now largely in place, and data shows that finding, sending, and receiving electronic health information is occurring at significant rates. Integration, however, involves specific technical challenges that may be more difficult than sending and receiving information.

For EPIC integration, systems must be able to call up, at the right time and place, the relevant third-party information within the EHR user interface. This requires a technical infrastructure that makes relevant information available in the user interface. The technical infrastructure might involve APIs, which pull in relevant information when certain screens are accessed or provide tabs to link to third-party content for worklists with relevant information. At the very least, integration requires the health system to configure the software to share information.

Read Also: Telemedicine Integration With An EMR Should Be

Fortunately, healthcare IT regulators are increasingly encouraging the use of standard protocols to enable the free exchange of health information among digital health tools and EHR systems. Technical challenges should soon become a less significant barrier to integration, as long as parties are willing to enable the right infrastructure and exchange standards.

2. Administrative Challenges

Many EHR integration challenges involve a lack of willingness among the key players (health systems, insurers, and vendors) to do the work to make integration happen. Some of this resistance stems from specific objections:

Difficulty integrating third-party sources: Some vendors cite difficulty integrating multiple third-party sources into the EHR as an objection to integration. Health systems don’t want an EHR interface that is so cluttered with data, work lists and alerts that clinicians can’t effectively use it for an encounter.

Many business and consumer platforms address this availability problem by enabling the user to configure the interface to see and provide alerts for, information that is most relevant to them. Health systems can use the same tools to optimize a user experience to their practice needs and still be able to leverage the EHR’s rich functionality, information sources, and analytic capabilities for integration.

Contractual limitations: Some industry participants will restrict integration with contractual limitations on integration. While limitations may be legal in name, they’re more accurately characterized as administrative barriers. Under the 21st Century Cures Act and HIPAA, interoperability laws do not impose barriers to integration; the laws instead promote interoperability. Any restrictions on integrating and sharing data tend to come from the vendor or provider

3. Privacy and security challenges

HIPAA and state privacy and security rules impose limitations to ensure that health systems appropriately use and disclose protected health information (PHI). Organizations must take steps to ensure HIPAA compliance; however, these requirements shouldn’t pose a significant barrier to EHR integration inappropriate use cases. Health systems may need to put in place valid HIPAA business associate agreements (BAAs) to enable the integration with third parties.

Read Also: What Is EMR Software? Difference Between EHR And EMR?

For health systems to adopt and use electronic health systems, they must trust them. The Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) included promoting trust as a guiding principle in its Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, stating that public trust that health information is safe and secure is essential.

To better establish and maintain that trust as interoperability increases across the industry, healthcare industry participants must ensure that appropriate, strong, and effective safeguards for electronic health information are in place. Stakeholders must also support greater transparency for individuals regarding the business practices of entities that use their data, particularly those not covered by the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.

Addressing privacy and security in a platform-wide format that enables third-party sources will be critical to scaling the use of third-party systems, as well as integration within EHR systems.

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The Benefits of Epic EMR/EHR Integration

With the escalating technological advancement and increasing awareness towards the patient’s comfort, Epic Integration is the vital demand in the market.

Some Epic EMR Integration Benefits are listed below:-

1. Facilitate patients to easily access their records

Patient comfort and satisfaction are at the top of the list of Healthcare service providers as the crucial point to grow their business. Epic EMR Integration allows the patients to easily access their records and reports earning the trust and satisfaction of the patients.

In the case of emergencies, the data transfer facility from one hospital to another in no time is a big plus.

2. Saves Employees’ time and efforts

Epic Integration makes it easier and effective to manage and operate the internal management process without any hassle. The invoicing, billing, data storage, data management, data sorting, data transfer, all the struggle can be reduced and simplified in lesser time and hence saving the efforts of the employees.

Read Also: Benefits Of EMR And EHR For Healthcare Industry

3. Better and quick treatment

Physicians can quickly know each patient’s health problems and any allergies they may have. With such detailed information, patients can be treated better and efficient and the quick treatment results in quick healing.

4. Financial Benefits

According to a case study published in The American Journal of Medicine, EMR users saved on office expenditures, improved the recording and reporting of billing services, improved efficiency in radiologic diagnostics, and decreased billing errors. Also, reduced operational costs such as transcription services and overtime labour expenses and the amount are considerable.

5. Confidentiality maintained

Epic integration developers are supposed to follow HIPAA compliance for data security. The patient’s data and information confidentiality must always be kept under secrecy, it is made sure that no data breaching happens at any stage of the data transferring process.

6.Error Reduction in data

Manual data management possesses a high probability of error in data retention while Epic integration reduces the error probability effectively. Advanced error detection systems automatically detect typos and retention errors and give the feasibility to edit the data easily and securely.

Along with these benefits, the Epic EMR integration system enhances the experience of healthcare service providers and the service takers by saving their time, maintaining transparency and earning the satisfaction of both groups. If you are a healthcare institution or service provider, you should consider adopting the Epic integration system to take your business to new heights.

SMART app Integration with Epic

SMART (“Substitutable Medical Applications, Reusable Technologies”) on FHIR is an open, HL7 FHIR standard-based platform that enables developers to create apps that can securely and seamlessly be integrated into all the major EHRs in the industry. SMART on FHIR is a set of open specifications to integrate apps with Electronic Health Records, portals, Health Information Exchanges, and other Health IT systems.

Read Also: FHIR Implementation Challenges

How a SMART on FHIR app works in Epic

Like all other major EHRs, Epic allows integration of SMART on FHIR apps within its EHR. A user of Hyperspace (Epic’s provider facing software) can activate a third-party vendor’s SMART on FHIR app from within the Hyperspace. The third-party SMART on FHIR app can be instantiated from the menu, left navigation bar, etc. When a SMART on FHIR app is instantiated, an authenticated token for access to an FHIR server, along with the FHIR server URL, is passed to the third-party app developer. The third-party App developer can query the authorized patient’s data from the FHIR server and use it in the SMART on FHIR app. For the user, the SMART on FHIR App is shown in an iFrame within the Hyperspace application.

Integrating SMART app with Epic

To integrate a SMART on FHIR app into the Epic EHR, one needs to register their app at the Epic’s App store, App Orchard.  Lets first understand the following two related concepts for EPIC as these are used in the coming sections.

AppOrchard

Epic has an App Store, App Orchard, where one can publish a patient or provider facing SMART on FHIR apps for users. Once the user is interested in a published app there are steps needed to integrate that app into Epic in the user’s premises. AppOrchard is also the place where developers can learn about and access Epic’s APIs and list their apps for Epic community members to explore and acquire. To access go to URL https://apporchard.epic.com.

MyApps

It’s the place where you register your app with Epic that can later be deployed to AppOrchard or integrated into hospital EHR directly. One must have a valid account at MyApps to register an application with Epic that can later publish to AppOrchard or can be integrated with hospital EHR directly.

You can test your app without registering at MyApps (using Epic launchpad that runs the app in EHR launch context) but to test the app as standalone you need to code accordingly so you have to register with MyApps to get client_id used in the code. See the section below “Epic Launch Sequences” for more details on the code.

We at Dreamsoft4u Pvt. Ltd. provide end to end solutions to Epic EMR integration and also provide full support for existing applications running with the Epic EMR interface.

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If you are interested, you can request a demo and pricing of Epic EMR integration.

Article Reference: https://www.epic.com/

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