5 Mistakes to Avoid in Telehealth EHR Integration

Did you know that 60% of patients agree with the statement that telehealth is more convenient that in-person care? Coupled with the fact that 35% of patients who have switched healthcare providers cite "experience" and "convenience" as the top reasons they switched, it's clear that telemedicine is here to stay.

This isn't to say that traditional in-person visits are worse or less-than, of course. Rather, this underscores the importance of telemedicine EHR software.

While telehealth offers convenience and flexibility, its full potential is unlocked only when paired with a robust electronic health record (EHR) system. This integration is the key to enhancing patient care, reducing costs, and improving both patient and clinician experiences

Consider the statistics:

By integrating a telehealth platform with an EHR system, healthcare providers can ensure effective healthcare service delivery, reduce professional burnout, and enhance access to care.

However, challenges still exist in integrating these two disparate systems.

While it's easy to take virtual care services for granted now, it's crucial to remember that telehealth wasn't widely accepted prior to COVID-19. Specifically, in 2019, only 15% of medical providers offered virtual care services. The pandemic single-handedly increased adoption six-fold.

The result?

Telemedicine software and EHR software often remain separate and unintegrated. Not only does this lead to inefficiencies in clinical workflow, but it also lowers patient engagement.

Unfortunately, the answer isn't as simple as purchasing telemedicine EHR software. Similarly, hiring a web app development company can be costly and time consuming.

The solution can be found in no code technologies. But before we can explore how no-code solutions empower health systems, it's crucial to understand the best medical practices for integrating telehealth with electronic medical records.

telehealth ehr integration
Integrating telehealth with EHR systems is crucial for seamless and efficient virtual care delivery.

So below, we highlight the 5 mistakes to avoid when integrating electronic health records with telehealth software.

Understanding these integration challenges—and how to overcome them—can empower healthcare providers to deliver more cohesive and patient-centered care.

Mistake #1: Overlooking User Experience (UX) Design

For medical providers, the focus is rightly on patient care, patient engagement, and patient outcomes. Practice managers, on the other hand, are more focused on clinical workflow.

This makes it easy to overlook the user experience (UX) design of both the telehealth platform and electronic health records software. While this may not sound important, it directly affects patient engagement and patient satisfaction.

Here's how poor UX design can negatively impact patient engagement:

Complex Navigation:

  • Difficult navigation can frustrate users, especially the elderly or those with poor technological literacy. For patients, this might mean struggling to schedule appointments, access test results, see their medical history, or communicate with healthcare providers. For physicians, it could translate into challenges in accessing patient histories, updating records, or ordering tests.
  • Lack of Mobile Optimization: The majority of all web traffic, including video conferencing, is on mobile devices. Failure to optimize for mobile can alienate users, limit accessibility, and decrease satisfaction. Also, not accommodating users with disabilities (e.g., vision impairment) can significantly limit access to care.
  • Poorly Designed User Interfaces (UI): Interfaces that are cluttered or unintuitive can lead to errors and inefficiencies. Patients might misinterpret health information or miss important updates, which can compromise their safety. Similarly, physicians might find it inefficient to enter data or miss critical alerts, both of which contribute to physician burnout.
  • Heightened Frustration and Burnout: Physicians may experience increased frustration and burnout due to inefficient workflows, while patients may feel anxious or dissatisfied with their care.

Solution:

To address these UX design challenges, a comprehensive, user-centered design approach is crucial:

  1. Conduct User Research: Engage with both patients and healthcare providers to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points.
  2. Iterative Design and Testing: Employ an iterative design process, including prototypes and usability testing, to refine interfaces based on real user feedback.
  3. Incorporate Best Practices: Follow best practices in UX/UI design, such as clear navigation, minimalistic design, mobile responsiveness, and accessibility guidelines.
  4. Continuous Evaluation and Improvement: Implement a continuous feedback loop, allowing for the regular updating of telehealth and EHR systems to adapt to changing user needs and technological advancements.

By prioritizing UX design in telehealth and EHR integration, healthcare providers can enhance the quality of care, improve patient and physician satisfaction, and ultimately achieve better health outcomes.

Thanks to no-code AI apps, it's easier than ever to create an intuitive UX design for both patients and physicians. We'll expand on this later below.

Mistake #2: Neglecting Data Privacy and Security

For healthcare organizations, the responsibility is more than to only practice medicine. There is also a responsibility and legal obligation to protect patient charts and data from falling into the wrong hands.

While both EHR software and telemedicine software might both be individually HIPAA compliant, complexity arises in the integration of these two systems. Any institution that deals with PHI must ensure that the compliance-required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and followed.

Failure to integrate telehealth software properly with electronic health records software can lead to healthcare security breaches. In addition to legal penalties and fines, healthcare organizations also suffer a loss of patient trust.

hipaa compliant cyber security
Ensuring data privacy and security is a top priority when implementing telemedicine solutions.

Here are nuanced points to consider about the integration of these two systems:

  • Compliance Responsibility. While individual solutions may be HIPAA compliant, integrating them creates a new environment where data is shared and processed. This integration must also be HIPAA compliant, and it's the responsibility of each healthcare organization to ensure it is so.
  • Data Flow and Control. When EMR software is integrated with telehealth software, data flows between them. These new data streams introduce new vulnerabilities to the health system. Additionally, the integrated system should enforce the principle of least privilege, ensuring users only have access to the patient records necessary for their role.
  • Vendor Agreements. Even if both the EHR software and telemedicine software are both HIPAA compliant, providers need to ensure that their agreements with each individual vendor cover the specifics of data handling, breach notification, and similar aspects critical to maintaining compliance across integrated systems. This often involves Business Associate Agreements (BAAs) that outline the responsibilities of each party in preventing data breaches in healthcare.
  • Ongoing Compliance. Compliance is not a one-time event but a continuous process. As both telemedicine software and EHR software evolve with new updates and features, providers must regularly reassess their integration to ensure it remains compliant. This might involve conducting periodic risk assessments, updating policies and procedures, and implementing additional safeguards as necessary.

Solution:

Picking a management software that is HIPAA compliant is key to integrating these unique systems.

Secure and compliant no-code solutions like Blaze also offer:

  • Role-Based Access
  • SSO & 2FA
  • User Activity Logs

Later in the article we'll explore everything you need to know about no-code integration.

Mistake #3: Underestimating the Importance of Interoperability

Interoperability is the ability of different information systems, devices, or applications to connect and communicate in a coordinated manner, within and across organizational boundaries.

Unfortunately, interoperability between telehealth software and EHR software is not guaranteed. It is easy to overlook this consideration because of the ease at which consumer-facing products tend to integrate. When it comes to the healthcare industry, however, there are many reasons why these two disparate systems might not integrate. These include legacy systems, vendor policies, and diverse standards and protocols.

Still, interoperability is key for the seamless exchange and use of medical records among medical providers, patients, and payers.

Consequences of Poor Interoperability:

  • Data Silos. When EHR software cannot communicate effectively with telemedicine software, information gets trapped in isolated "silos." This prevents health providers from accessing a holistic view of patient health, potentially leading to incomplete or ineffective care plans.
  • Inefficiency and Delays. Lack of interoperability makes it harder for health providers to deliver effective patient care. For example, clinicians may spend unnecessary time manually transferring data between systems and medical records. This leads to delays in treatment, less time for patient care, and physician burnout.
  • Increased Risk of Errors. Manually transferring data between non-interoperable systems increases the likelihood of errors in patient records. In addition to telemedicine software, providers must also consider EHR vs EMR vs PHR.
  • Impacts on Patient Engagement. If a patient portal is incomplete, inaccurate, or otherwise difficult to access due to interoperability issues, the patient's ability to actively engage in their own care is diminished. In terms of practice management, this results in lower customer satisfaction,

Solution:

Medical professionals must work with EMR software vendors and partners committed to interoperability standards. However, getting the best EMR system isn't enough.

Healthcare institutions must also invest in modern technologies that natively allow for integrated EHR. Later in the article, we'll reveal how no-code solutions are changing health information technology for the better.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Scalability and Flexibility

Every medical practice must be prepared for growth. When you consider the shortage of medical professionals, including physicians and nurses, the expectation should be that a responsibly managed medical practice will grow.

This raises the question: Is your telemedicine EHR software scalable and flexible?

Scalability and flexibility in practice management also goes beyond EHR software. Other systems that should be adaptable for growth include, but are not limited to medical billing software, patient portal solutions, and diagnostic equipment.

ehr integration software telehealth
Telemedicine and EHR integration can help reduce physician burnout and improve work-life balance.

Challenges of Limited Scalability and Flexibility:

  • Inability to Handle Increased Patient Load: As a practice grows, so must its EMR system. Systems that aren't scalable lead to slowdowns and service interruptions that can negatively impact patient safety.
  • Difficulty Integrating New Technologies: The rapid pace of technological advancement means new health technologies are rapidly emerging. Inflexible systems can make it difficult or even impossible to incorporate these innovations, leaving providers at a disadvantage. Some examples of rapidly evolving areas include pharmacy management software, remote patient monitoring solutions, and medical billing software.
  • Operational Inefficiencies. Systems that cannot scale or adapt efficiently may require manual workarounds or manual processes. Not only does this increase the risk of errors, but it also results in an increased workload for staff.

Solution:

When finding a solution for telemedicine electronic health records, consider not just current needs but potential future growth and technology trends. This foresight can guide the choice of solutions that can grow and evolve with the provider.

Opt for cloud-based solutions that allow you to automate processes. Cloud-based systems are inherently more scalable and flexible, allowing for easier integration with other systems and technologies and the ability to scale up or down based on demand.

Finally, choose vendors that demonstrate a commitment to ongoing development and technical support for their systems.

Mistake #5: Skimping on Training and Support

EMR software vendors don't always do the best job with onboarding.

No matter what practice management software you choose for integration, it's critical to continuously train your staff. It's not just for the physicians who conduct telemedicine appointments. Anyone involved in patient management should be trained on the system to ensure patient safety.

Consequences of Inadequate Training and Support for EHR Software

  • Reduced System Utilization: Without adequate training, healthcare professionals may be hesitant to fully use new systems, leading to underutilization. Essential features and functionalities that could enhance patient care might remain untapped.
  • Increased Errors: Lack of familiarity with the new system can result in errors in data entry or system use, potentially compromising HIPAA compliance.
  • Workflow Disruptions: Integrating new technologies into existing workflows without proper training can lead to confusion and inefficiency, disrupting patient care processes.
  • Resistance to Change: Inadequate support and training can heighten resistance to new systems among staff, as they may feel overwhelmed or underprepared to make the transition, further hindering adoption and effectiveness.

Solution:

  • Tailored Training Programs: Develop training programs that are tailored to the specific needs of different user groups within the healthcare organization.
  • Ongoing Support and Resources: Provide continuous support beyond the initial training phase, including access to resources like manuals, clinical documentation, and help desks, to address ongoing needs and questions.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Implement mechanisms to gather feedback from users about the training process and system usability. If you opt for a no-code solution, you can customize your management software based on the feedback you receive.

Why No-Code is the Best Telemedicine and EHR Software Solution

When it comes to telemedicine EMR software, the best solution is one that you can fully customize.

From patient scheduling to daily administrative tasks, each practice has its own unique needs and workflow to provide telehealth visits.

This is why a generic out of the box EHR software or telemedicine EMR software isn't good enough. You want something you can customize, similar to a specialty specific EHR software.

Enter no-code solutions.

Thanks to no-code technology, medical practices of any size can create their own telemedicine electronic medical records system. As the name suggests — no coding skill, experience, or even knowledge is required.

telemedicine electronic record
Choosing the right telemedicine and EHR integration partner is crucial for long-term success.

How Does No-Code Work?

Think of no-code app builders similar to cloud based EMR software in that you can access it through a web browser on all authorized medical devices.

No-code builders allow you to build your own apps through a user-friendly interface. Simply put:

  1. Brainstorm the functionality and lay out of your app.
  2. Build the app by using an intuitive drag-and-drop app builder.
  3. Integrate your your separate telehealth and electronic medical records onto the platform.

Now, all the pertinent patient data providers need for telehealth visits can be accessed from a single place. They can even update electronic medical records in real-time, resulting in better patient outcomes.

Blaze: Your Telehealth EHR Integration Partner

Blaze understands the importance of telehealth EHR integration in delivering quality care and improving patient outcomes.

Our no-code solution allows you to integrate your telehealth platform and your EMR software on a single app. With Blaze, you don't have to implement a separate technology solution for telehealth.

In other words, you can build your own integration solution without having to know or learn a single line of code. It truly can be as simple as dragging and dropping elements into place.

Partnering with Blaze for telehealth EHR integration is simple thanks to our drag-and-drop interface. We understand that the focus of every healthcare provider is to practice medicine, which is why we make integration as easy as possible.

Blaze makes integrating telehealth and EHR as simple as drag and drop.

How Blaze Helps You Practice Medicine

In addition to telemedicine electronic medical records, Blaze makes practice management easier. Remember, no-code has no limits. Blaze can help with:

  • Medical billing
  • Customer satisfaction (i.e. patient porals)
  • Practice management software
  • Electronic medication administration record

Blaze does all of this while ensuring HIPAA compliance, protecting patient data at every turn. We also empower you to build scalable web apps that grow as your practice grows.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a free demo with Blaze today!

FAQs

How is telehealth integrated into healthcare?

Telehealth is integrated into healthcare by connecting patients to essential health services using video calls, remote monitoring, and electronic consultations. This integration enhances access to healthcare professionals and specialists, ensuring that patients receive timely and appropriate care wherever they are.

Is telehealth part of the EHR?

Yes, telehealth is part of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) system. EHRs play a vital role in facilitating telemedicine by securely storing and managing patients' health information, enabling seamless communication between patients and healthcare providers. This integration ensures efficient and coordinated healthcare delivery.

How do you integrate with an EHR?

To integrate with an EHR system, you need to configure and update your existing systems to overcome any administrative or technical challenges. Make sure you have the necessary tools and technologies (like Blaze) in place to ensure a smooth integration process.

How much does it cost to integrate EHR?

The cost of integrating an EHR system can vary depending on the provider and the specific features needed. Typically, it can range from $50,000 to $500,000. Custom EHR solutions may seem expensive initially, but they can actually save money for the practice in the long term.

The most affordable and effective solution is a no-code app builder, which can be as affordable as $400 per month.