An electronic health records system (EHR) is typically a healthcare organization’s largest IT investment. And generally by a wide margin.
EHRs have the potential to provide substantial benefits to physicians, clinic practices, and health care organizations. But when it comes to patient access, they are more limited than you realize.
Here are the 3 most common drawbacks we hear from organizations who have tried to use their EHR for appointment scheduling and referral management:
1) Channel Access: Some EHRs have ‘open’ capabilities which enable appointment inventory to surface on a particular website, but they are unable to support multi-access channels like Healthgrades, Yelp, and most importantly, the practice sites. Multi-channel deployment is critical to meet patients on the sites they already visit, and is a key driver for organizations to gain market share through new patient acquisition.
2) Interoperability: If your EHR has appointment scheduling capabilities, chances are it only services one EHR: itself. This means it cannot schedule into radiology systems, lab systems and all other EHRs in the community. If you want to take advantage of an EHR’s full potential, it must offer interoperability to be able to read/write into other systems. Data entrenched within a single EHR installation cannot be leveraged for ‘big data’ initiatives, such as analyzing physician capacity at the provider, specialty and procedure level.
3) Decision Support: Providers are often hesitant to offer online appointments because of complicated scheduling scenarios and pre-registration information required to schedule the right care for patients - without talking to them. EHRs do not have a way to accomplish this. What is needed is a flexible, search criteria so patients are guided to the right providers and services at the right time and place. Protocols such as the ability to multiple services across multiple locations, require 15 minutes between new patients, limit certain insurance types per day and others can easily be implemented with a visual tool in minutes.
To accelerate collaboration between even the most engrained EHR systems, you need a solution that can sync between disparate platforms and then surface that inventory on sites where patients already visit. Giving providers control over those channels and patient characteristics means not only will they have the confidence to participate, but the ability to succeed.
To learn more, download our free guide on Redefining Patient Access.