Importance of Telehealth EHR Integration in COVID-19 Pandemic

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has pushed telehealth and telemedicine to the frontline of the healthcare industry. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has radically transformed the entire healthcare landscape. It has essentially pushed telemedicine and telehealth at the frontline of the healthcare industry, highlighting it as the most critical health IT tool for crisis times. Its importance has multiplied manifold as the physicians seek to ensure their EHRs can offer virtual care.

Telehealth EHR Integration

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, EHRs were predominantly used by the providers to extend their reach to rural areas and underserved communities. They essentially capitalized upon the ease and convenience of telemedicine to expand access to care. Now, amid the coronavirus crisis, healthcare providers leverage EHRs with telehealth and telemedicine to identify and treat the ‘very sick’ patients. They can, then, be triaged to care centers instead of having them come to the doctor’s office.

Telemedicine and telehealth, then, has evolved as part and parcel of an efficient EHR. Providers can see and treat patients without exposing themselves and others to the virus, and this contribution is particularly invaluable for the healthcare industry. Recognizing this, the CMS has relaxed several legislations governing telemedicine, thereby seeking to enhance support to the beneficiaries of virtual care.

How does it work?

EHRs are comprehensive data repositories that store valuable patient information. This information includes all the critical patient data, including personal information to medical history, medications, previously performed procedures, allergies, lab test results, and many more. Hence, when the patient schedules a televisit with the provider, the provider immediately has access to previous patient records. This then significantly facilitates the provider in conducting an accurate medical diagnosis as well as devise an effective treatment plan.

In case the patient's case is complicated, the provider can seek help from other members of the care team. He can refer the patient to a specialist or collaborate with other providers to deliver superior quality care virtually. All this is possible with the dynamic combination of EHR with telehealth and telemedicine. While EHR allows the easy share of patient information across healthcare providers, telemedicine enables care coordination and delivering high-quality care without having to visit the provider’s office. Most importantly, it limits the exposure of the patients, providers, and other patients to the coronavirus.

Is this feasible in the long run?

We do acknowledge, however, that it might be practically feasible for the medical practice to sustain itself financially with only telemedicine and telehealth. The quality of care delivered through in-person visits and the revenue prospects of that care model cannot be undermined. However, we are still headed on the road to improving the financial prospects of telemedicine, in terms of reimbursement and codes for these televisits and billing guidelines.

While most EHR EMR software does have some telemedicine capacity, healthcare providers are encouraged to update to most recent EHRs that offer this feature for sure. There are several disadvantages and risks of sticking to the over version of EHR.

Therefore, if your EHR currently doesn’t have a telemedicine and telehealth option, now is the time to rethink and integrate an efficient telemedicine system with your existing EHR. Or, you can collaborate with a reliable third-party vendor who offers an EHR -integrated telemedicine option.

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to bring out the best in EHR technology and telemedicine. The silver, from an EHR perspective, is that all the hard work that you put into your EHR will shine to make patient care more comfortable. From the telemedicine and telehealth perspective, the care will be accessible beyond geographic boundaries, equally reachable for all.

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TechGlobeX: Importance of Telehealth EHR Integration in COVID-19 Pandemic
Importance of Telehealth EHR Integration in COVID-19 Pandemic
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