Healthcare apps and sensitive health data go hand in hand. And as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology finalizes the long-debated interoperability rule, medical providers get more space for introducing health tech with patient-focused apps.
And the Epic EHR/EMR API is the technical way to do that.
According to HopkinsMedicine, almost half of the US citizens have their electronic health records stored within the Epic system. The same system is the go-to option for leading national hospitals.
Hence, if you’re building a solution for a facility that relies on Epic, EHR/EMR integration is essential to access and protect sensitive patient data.
Today, we’ll dwell on the basics of Epic EHR integration and when you need it. We’ll also touch upon the main benefits of the API and how you can integrate Epic through API.
What Is Clinical Interoperability In Healthcare?
Interoperability means the ability of health information systems to access, exchange, integrate and use health information once it is received.
It means that various e-health applications should be interconnected through standardized interaction mechanisms with a consistent flow of information to ensure complementary services and data consistency. This is done to ensure timely and friction-free portability of information and optimize the health of individuals globally.
On March 9, 2020, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information made the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule publicly available. The major goal of the interoperability regulation is to provide a legal foundation for assuring smooth and secure health information transmission and eliminating information blocking.
Besides, the rule encourages the integration of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that make sensitive data securely accessible to all parties involved in healthcare. It means that medical software solutions now have to be integrated with EHR/EMR APIs.
What Is EHR?
An electronic Health Record or EHR is a digital patient record. It stores information about all medical conditions from multiple doctors you’d find in a paper chart. EHRs also provide a more holistic, long-term view of a patient’s health. Medical records are official data and can be accessed by other authorized centers and similar health care providers, as well as laboratories, government agencies, etc. to improve the quality of health care.
What Is EMR?
In contrast, Electronic Medical Record or EMR stores information regarding a specific practice (e.g., dentistry). It is usually an electronic version of a patient’s medical history at a particular institution.
By integrating your EMRs and EHRs with the Epic USCDI API system, healthcare providers can easily update, store and view patients’ medical records.
Now let’s have a closer look at the benefits of best Epic consulting firms.
5 Reasons Why Your Healthcare App Should Be Epic
Allows for seamless access for patients
The ability to easily access EHRs and EMRs anywhere along the care spectrum is a distinctive advantage of Epic. In the case of emergencies, the data transfer from one hospital to another in no time is a big plus. Besides, biometric sign-in offers secure and personalized patient identification. Thus, clinical institutions have a better grasp of their employee’s access rights.
Facilitates clinical pathways
Epic integration allows for a unified and uninterrupted flow of data, by interconnecting all internal systems. Thus, your medical staff can quickly find and access medical records and test results. Data-related tasks are streamlined, meaning that storage, management, and transfer no longer pose a difficulty for healthcare employees.
Integrating Epic with your billing processes allows you to deliver patient-friendly billing statements. Moreover, the autofill feature allows less effort from the personnel and minimizes errors. Card and check processing, secure and automated payment posting also contribute to a great payment experience for consumers.
Better clinical decision support
Among other things, Epic integration is one of our key efforts to improve the treatment process. Since physicians have comprehensive info about each patient’s health problems, the Epic system also provides better and more efficient treatment.
EHR software helps both patients and providers save money. Thus, by embedding Epic’s clinical pathways tool into its EHR, the health system Mercy saved $27 million and 480 lives. In particular, the healthcare industry’s shift to electronic health records reduces operational costs and overtime labor expenses.
EPIC software can automate the secure exchanging of medical and health records as long as Epic integration developers follow the HIPAA regulations for data security. When embedded properly, your EHR/EMR data stays confidential with no possibility of data breaching.
Do You Need Epic EHR/EMR Integration At All?
Integrating your clinical pathways with Epic EHR/EMR will enable you to monitor electronic medical records in real-time. From the patient’s side, they can view their medical data from a provider-facing app with no fees being charged to them.
Besides, this type of integration entails a wide range of other data-related activities. It includes smart AI data analysis, data visualization, and analysis to foster better and more accurate treatment.
Let’s see when data unification will benefit your healthcare business:
- You’re developing a provider-facing app for health facilities (patient-facing software doesn’t gather focus medical data such as allergies, test results, epic electronic medical records, and others).
- You don’t need to push data to the Epic system.
- You’re looking for an easy way to streamline your clinical pathways (Epic integration isn’t fit for crunching huge databases).
What Does The Integration Process of Epic USCDI API Look Like?
Although the integration step-by-step will vary based on unique business needs, it can roughly be divided into five steps.
Check Epic support
Epic is not compatible with some versions. Therefore, you should first make sure that data-storing sites are supported by this EHR/EMR system.
Sign up to Uscdi.epic.com
Epic on FHIR is a free resource for developers who create healthcare apps. To access the API key, you need to register on the website by verifying your identity.
Perform data inventory management
The whole point of integration is to unite the scattered data points into a single patchwork. Therefore, make sure your internal healthcare system contains all the necessary endpoints for the API. It may include progress notes, problems, medications, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data, and others.
Get the key and perform testing
Your API key will be available on the website. But before putting it into practice, test the API against example data.
Build a healthcare app integrated with Epic
To embed your app with Epic EMR, you need to first have a server for your health mobile solution. After that, the integration process begins by accessing the FHIR API. The process is considered complete when your app gets registered with Epic.
Mind that this is not an exhaustive list of stages, since the technological structure depends heavily on a particular healthcare provider. That is why most medical facilities turn to software development agencies to delegate the smooth EPIC integration.
The Final Word
By the end of 2022, many certified health IT developers will be obliged to support FHIR-based, standardized APIs for healthcare. It means that the number of FHIR-enabled applications will grow accordingly. And there’s some simple rationale behind these statistics.
Not only the Epic USCDI API can redefine healthcare software but it also ensures a holistic and panoramic view of available patient data. The latter, in turn, translates into increased levels of medical treatment and a more satisfying patient experience.