When you’re choosing a patient communication platform, you’re likely thinking of the improvements it can bring to your practice for both patient and staff experience. For this reason it is incredibly important that you think about how the conversations you have in the platform are documented in the patient record. It is a must that you consider both if the solution integrates with your EHR and how it integrates.
It can be difficult to juggle between different softwares and your EHR, so choosing a patient communication tool with an EHR integration that fits your needs is the ideal.
As with any system you are looking to connect to your EHR, seamless sharing of patient data that allows you to improve clinical decision-making is the overall goal. In addition to improving your ability to make the right choices for the patient with improved access to their data, you can also greatly reduce the amount of time your staff spends manually entering information into the patient record.
Benefits of an EHR integration for your patient communication
There are two main things to think about when considering a patient communication platform with an EHR integration:
- Will it improve the patient experience?
- Will it save me time (and therefore money)?
In your evaluation, if the value for either of these is unclear, you may want to look elsewhere. This said, some solutions make it very clear.
With an EHR integration like OhMD, for example, patients are synced from your EHR directly into OhMD. This saves time right off the bat by not having to recreate patients or re-enter their information into the communication platform. You then improve the patient experience by allowing them multiple, simple ways to connect with you— whether it be through two-way texting, automated communication workflows, or even video visits or patient calls. Lastly, when your conversation ends with the patient, you can push the record of the entire interaction back to their chart in the EHR in a click (saving your staff even more time).
Let’s do a deeper dive on the ways EHR integration with your patient communication platform can provide benefits to your practice.
Streamlined workflows and improved efficiency
Healthcare staff spend so much time on tasks that can simply be done more easily. Avoiding manual tasks like updating a patient’s chart and spending more time focusing on patients is what many practices strive for. Utilizing systems with built-in automation will improve your staff’s workflow and improve efficiency in your practice.
Any patient communication solution with an EHR integration should allow you to push conversations you’ve had with the patient directly to the patient’s chart. This includes any attachments, appointment reminder texts, or patient calls that would be generated from the other software. This includes timestamps for easy documentation and any necessary billing.
Reduced errors and improved patient safety
An EHR integration can significantly reduce errors and improve patient safety by ensuring that all patient information is up-to-date and accurate. This is especially important when it comes to medication management and symptom tracking. Documenting patient chats can help you uncover necessary updates to the patient chart that allow for better decision-making.
Additionally, a feature like OhMD Autopilot can help you automate and keep track of medication refills as well. Autopilot can automate patient workflows and provide you with essential information that saves you time on simple and even more complicated patient communication workflows. Once completed, the answers are all merged into an Autopilot summary in the patients chat record, where, in a click, you can push back to the patient’s chart for easy record keeping and reference.
Better data management, access to information and support
Whether you have a handful of patients, hundreds of patients, or thousands of patients, you have to keep track of your conversations somehow. If you’re having multiple conversations with patients every day, regardless of how many patients you have, it can be difficult to keep track of information and data. This can be especially true when it comes to specific images or key points of info in the chart. It is crucial to keep your healthcare information organized. Integrating your patient communication platform with your EHR takes some of the heavy lifting of organizing data off your plate.
This may mean you will need to adjust your workflows to get the most out of the communication software you choose.
The communication platform you choose should set you and your staff to succeed by guiding you with best practices on how to adjust those workflows. The best way to ensure you are making the right choice in a software to work with is understanding how you will be trained and supported by the team you are purchasing the software from.
The best patient communication platforms out there should be able to not only train you and your staff, but also support you when you have questions.
Better data management and access to information is part of the puzzle, but ensuring your team is trained and supported is also incredibly important. How can you learn how you’ll be supported? A great place to start is to look at reviews from others on sites like G2.
Improved patient experience and satisfaction
When you spend less time and money on manual tasks and administrative work, you can prioritize the patient experience in and out of the office. An EHR integration for your patient communication platform should help you alleviate the burden of manually updating the patient’s chart and significantly reduce time spent on individual documentation of conversations. Staff can spend more time focusing on the patient and their needs with scheduling appointments and updating them on medication or care.
Better outcomes and improved population health
Prioritizing the patient is the most important factor when running a practice, so you need all the other pieces to fit together for the practice to run smoothly. That’s why it is critical to make everyone’s job easier when it comes to information sharing and communication.
Studies show that expanding data access and making it easier to input information into a patient’s chart leads to reduced manual work.
In many healthcare practices, staff members wear a lot of hats. Taking manual tasks off the plates of your care team members allow them the opportunity to put even greater focus on the patient and can lead to improved health outcomes.
The tools that lead to better decision making and efficiency
There are many solutions that can make your workflow more efficient and effective. Working with over 50,000 healthcare providers around the country, the team at OhMD has created a number of tools that allow for easier and quicker patient engagement. We’ll look at a few of them.
- Optimizing automated workflows
An automated workflow tool allows patients to text in with a keyword that will kick off a series of prompts. Whether it’s checking in, refilling prescriptions, or scheduling an appointment, OhMD Autopilot can automate patient conversations and provide you with essential information that saves you time on more complicated patient communication workflows. Once completed, the answers are all merged into a summary in your patient communication platform which gets pushed to the patient’s chart when closed.
Using a patient communication platform that integrates with your EHR, an automated workflow like Autopilot provides easy record keeping and reference. With everything documented, you will greatly reduce your time spent digging for details in difficult to navigate systems.
- Making patient acquisition easy
Gathering new patients in your practice has never been easier. If a patient is created in your EHR, that patient will populate in the patient communication software shortly after. You can then immediately start connecting with that patient via text.
An EHR Integration eliminates the manual step of adding patients a second time.
- Keeping track of patient phone calls
Tracking and documenting incoming phone calls and voicemails seems almost impossible with heavy call volume. When you implement a tool that allows you to triage phone calls within a patient communication platform, it can work alongside your EHR.
Using a tool like Virtual Phone Assistant that can triage calls, patients call into a number associated with your practice and can choose one of the three options:
- To hang up and receive a text
- Stay on the line to speak with a representative
- Leave a voicemail
If they choose to leave a voicemail, that tool will transcribe it directly into the patient chat record in OhMD. Once closed, that voicemail transcription will appear right in the patient’s chat record. It is a great way to help your team reduce their amount of time on the phone as they’ll be able to read the transcripts and respond appropriately, in many cases even opting to text the patient back as opposed to calling them.
How critical is EHR integration when choosing a patient communication platform?
So now that you have all the info on what to look for in your patient communication platform, how important is it that it integrates with your EHR?
While everything always comes down to your individual practice needs, the real question should be, “why would I choose a patient communication tool that fails to integrate with my EHR?”
There are many tools out that don’t integrate, or don’t integrate well. Our best advice is to find the tool that works best for you and makes the process easier for your staff to deliver the best possible health outcomes.
Patients want to connect with you. Your staff wants to deliver the highest quality care. Simplifying the process of information sharing and making that information accessible so better decisions can be made is a win-win situation that both your patients and care team can get behind.