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Why you need Epic EHR integration

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Electronic health records or EHRs are a key element of the American healthcare system, but they can be notoriously difficult to work with. For app developers, this presents a unique challenge – how can you create an app that interacts seamlessly with EHRs?

In this blog post, we’ll explore how to adopt Epic EHR integration using the relevant APIs.

A few words on Epic system

Epic Systems is a medical software company. It develops electronic health records (EHR) and other healthcare information technology solutions for hospitals, physician practices, and other healthcare providers.

The company has more than 800 customers worldwide, including 27 of the 30 largest U.S. healthcare systems. In late 2017, it was announced that Epic would be partnering with Amazon to bring their EHR system to the cloud.

In simple words, it is a comprehensive system that allows authorized users to access patient data from anywhere in the hospital or clinic. Epic also includes features that allow clinicians to order tests, track patients’ progress, and prescribe medications.

Why you need Epic integration

Enterprise software integration is key to making sure different applications within a company can work together. This will allow employees to move data back and forth easily between separate systems, improving productivity and allowing for better decision-making.

Healthcare is no exception. On the contrary, medical facilities need interoperability of healthcare data more than anything. And Epic is what allows different applications to exchange data with each other, ensuring better patient outcomes and efficiency.

A few words on data interoperability

Data exchange is a necessary step for the effective sharing of medical information between different software systems within the healthcare industry. By definition, it is the ability of different software systems to share medical data in a usable form.

A lack of data exchange can lead to numerous problems, such as redundant data entry, slowed processes, and inaccurate patient records. With so much at stake, healthcare providers are increasingly looking for ways to improve data interoperability within their organizations.

The acute need for accessibility and data quality is also regulated by the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule. The latter aims to benefit all healthcare parties by removing data silos that hamper informed health care decisions and easy data access. The regulation also encourages healthcare providers to implement APIs that will help facilitate the electronic exchange of healthcare data. APIs, in turn, connect to mobile applications and EHRs. And that’s when EPIC EHR/EMR integration comes on stage.

Main challenges towards interoperability

Integrating your software with Epic is not as easy as it might seem. There are two common sets of challenges that haunt medical providers. These include:

Technical bottlenecks

Making your system compatible means integrating various third-party technologies with one another, which requires all software to communicate with EHRs as intended. Moreover, the difference between EHR vs EMR is also a principal tech-related factor since your system will need different data input. Also, you won’t get away with insecure EHR integrations which go against HIPAA standards.

Administrative challenges

The implementation process incurs hefty integration costs. Thus, the total of installing an EHR system can go up to $70,000 per provider. Employee training is equally important for smooth implementation and further maintenance of the system.

Therefore, most companies resort to third-party expertise to facilitate a faster and more seamless EHR implementation. Once done well, EHR integration can help medical providers reap unmatched benefits.

Top benefits of EHR/EMR integration

Electronic health records and electronic medical records play an important role in the care of patients by providing a secure system for storing health information. This allows for a more efficient exchange of information, which can result in better care for patients.

In addition, EHR/EMR integration offers several other benefits:

  • improved data accuracy and completeness, thanks to automatic input;
  • fewer errors due to better system-wide communication;
  • reduced need for retyping of information, thereby decreasing the chances of transcription errors;
  • easier access to patient records;
  • automation of redundant processes.

Making your app Epic-friendly: step by step

If you’re a provider whose clinic relies on Epic for EHR management, building an app will help you access patient data fast and easily. APIs will help you integrate patient data into your mobile solution. Let’s have a closer look at the process. Mind that exact steps vary based on your unique healthcare challenges.

Ensure Epic compatibility

Some databases may not be compatible with Epic. Therefore, your team should first check whether the EHR/EMR system clicks well with your data-storing assets.

Choose your data exchange method

When it comes to Epic, there are a few methods to share medical data. The main APIs include USCDI, HL7V2, and HL7V3. The exact pathway depends on the type of data you’re planning to share. NCPDP standards, for instance, are more suitable for pharmaceutical data, whereas DICOM standards work best for exchanging medical images.

Let’s imagine that you’ve chosen USCDI.

Sign up to Uscdi.epic.com

The USCDI API is a free development tool that includes a unified set of health data classes needed for interoperable exchange. All you or your developer needs is to sign up to the website and get the API key.

Run medical data audit

EHR integration brings forward actionable insights that are based on multiple data points. Therefore, you need to put together an exhaustive bunch of information for the API aggregation. Necessary endpoints may include electronic health records, administrative data, claims data, clinical trials data, and others.

Develop a healthcare app

Once you have all the data and data exchange technologies, it’s time to build your medical application. To do that, your application needs a server for the FHIR API with further registration within the Epic ecosystem.

Obtaining a client ID

A lot of integration technologies mandate a client ID for data exchange. Client IDs identify the application and tie it with the application data in a unique way. Client IDs are enforced programmatically in Subspace integrations and web service calls to and from Epic.

The bottom line

In the upcoming years, the majority of health providers will be obliged to support unified APIs for healthcare. It means that Epic integration will no longer be an option. Instead, it’ll be a necessity that facilitates seamless patient data exchanges and increases patient outcomes.

However, integrating your app with Epic doesn’t bode well for all use cases. If you’re building patient-facing software or dealing with a massive amount of data, this type of integration isn’t the best fit. Therefore, make sure you reach out to the professionals to assess the viability of Epic integration in your case.

Story by Tatsiana Isakova


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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