5 Keys to a Successful EMR Integration

In the 1960s the healthcare industry began to develop electronic medical records (or EMR) to create and store digital medical files. These files included the doctor’s notes, prescriptions, and patient history. The goal was to effectively replace the need for physical medical data.

Fast forward to the present and 8 of every 10 doctors now use EMRs within their practice, making it an invaluable resource for sending and receiving patient information. Implementing an EMR can be challenging but no fear, here are 5 tips that will help make your EMR integration happen as smooth as possible.

  1. Planning
  2. Designing
  3. Building
  4. Testing
  5. Implementation

These are the guidelines that experienced developers use to create comprehensive and competent products and software solutions. We will discuss how each step of the EMR integration works and how it will benefit the organization that implements them.

1. Planning

The first step for any project is the planning phase. The development team needs to gain an understanding of what the client wants from their EMR system. This is usually a series of questions and interviews that will be used to establish the goals of the EMR software. Such goals can include the requirements for data accessibility, user-friendliness and how much stress the system will take

2. Designing

When designing an EMR system, it is important to be specific and mindful of the data architecture. The logic of the system must be engineered correctly and efficiently. Information gathered from the planning phase will be incorporated into the design and workflow analysis is used to determine the order in which the system will be built for maximum efficiency.

Interfaces must be custom-crafted to fit the interest of the client. They must also be accessible to those who will use the EMR software. In this phase, the designers will create a blueprint image of how the system works and flows. They will also deal with the space restrictions and decide where hardware containing the software will be placed.

3. Building

Once a design is finalized it is time to install the new EMR system. All data collected by the organization up to this point must be transferred into the new system. The data may also need to be converted to fit the format of the new system. There are tools and resources that developers use to make this change as routine as possible. These tools include scanners, database merging software, and data-linking hardware devices.

4. Testing

After the installation is completed it must be tested. Testing ensures the quality and reliability of the system. Backups are tested and emergency redundancy efforts are put in place. Before a system goes online, it must be scrutinized and tested for all types of scenarios that may happen in a healthcare facility. Security also has to be a priority because of the sensitive nature of the data being handled. Permissions management, password protection, and encryption processes must be checked as well as the strength of the system’s firewall.

5. Implementation.

A successful EMR implementation can only be confirmed after sufficient tests have been made and the network is proven to be stable and secure. The client’s data must be backed-up in advance of the new system handling the client’s data. In addition, EMRs have to be certified and adhere to national standards as well as be HIPPA compliant.

Installation is not complete until the employees and users have been properly trained. If your organization is going from paper files to an EMR system it may require more technical training for your staff. Ultimately, the changes that an EMR brings to your organization will also boost the productivity of your staff.

After the release and use of the EMR system, periodic updates will be a necessity as well as further testing of the system. Security protocols may also be enhanced due to new threats to the system. Just as your favorite applications require updates, the same goes for EMRs.

Successful Installation

Overall, EMR software helps healthcare providers become more efficient, productive, and profitable. It allows patients to keep track of their medical information and optimizes the workflow of healthcare organizations by working directly with pharmacies, state healthcare organizations, labs, and other hospitals to the benefit of the patient.

But none of this is possible without a successful integration to the rest of the systems within the healthcare organization. Healthcare providers and developers should be prepared to utilize these 5 tips to make the integration of an EMR run as smooth and efficient as possible.