EMR for Telehealth: The Importance of Telehealth and Software Integration

Daniel Pluard

March 8, 2024
Illustrative banner for EMR in telehealth showing the importance of software integration, featuring a vintage telephone, stethoscope, and circuit board elements on a dark teal background, symbolizing the fusion of healthcare communication and modern technology.

The healthcare industry has experienced massive changes over the last decade. The introduction and optimization of telehealth services has been among those on the forefront of the evolution. Add in a global pandemic that accelerated the demand and development of remote healthcare services, and you have an entire medical system that is now realizing the benefits of telemedicine.

Here are the reasons why healthcare providers across the globe should implement and optimize telehealth services that are backed by effective EMR (Electronic Medical Records) integration tools.

Top 3 Reasons Healthcare Providers Should Prioritize Telehealth Services

  1. Cost Reduction for Patients and Providers
    Industry research has shown a direct correlation between patient care provided via telehealth services and an overall reduction in costs to both patients and providers.

    Patients have realized substantial cost-savings related to:

    • Travel time (up to $3 million annually across the U.S.)
    • Time away from work
    • High-priced emergency room visits ($121 net savings per remote visit)
    • Standard clinical visits

    Providers have also reduced costs by:

    • Preemptively monitoring high-risk patients and reducing hospital readmissions
    • Reducing the number of in-person staff
    • Taking advantage of telehealth reimbursements

    For hospitals, in particular, a reduction of just 1% in emergency department visits has the potential to save over $100 million per year!

  2. Faster Care from Anywhere
    There is no denying that remote medical visits give patients more access to both primary care physicians and specialists.Initially, the biggest impact was felt by patients living in rural areas with nearly 25% of adults reporting distance from medical facilities as being a major impediment. With the expansion of providers offering telehealth services, early detection of heart attack, stroke, and other life-threating symptoms via video appointments has created new lifelines at a distance.

    Fast forward a few years, and telehealth services are improving patient access in urban areas as well. Rather than racing to be on time for their next appointment, these users can address basic medical issues, request prescriptions, and attain specialist referrals without ever having to see a doctor in person.

  3. Mitigation of Infectious Diseases
    We all remember the year (or two) that the earth stood still during the COVID-19 pandemic. The healthcare industry, however, was the biggest exception. Doctors, nurses, emergency responders, and virtually all other hands-on medical staff were on the move. They were constantly understaffed and severely overworked.Not surprisingly, this was an opportunity of telemedicine to truly shine. Programs like “Virtual First Responders” gave medical staff the ability to consult with patients in emergency situations and help them far faster than a visit to the emergency room. All of this with the added benefit of a significant decrease in exposure of all parties to a globally spreading disease.

Why Is EMR Integration The Next Priority?

To provide these highly beneficial services, providers need to leverage new technology that will allow them to streamline workflows, create treatment plans, track progress, and securely store and exchange private medical information.

This is where EMR come into play. These records constitute everything that would appear on a traditional paper chart including medical history, prescriptions, diagnoses, treatment plans, and progress updates.

When it comes to adopting and optimizing a provider’s telehealth delivery model, EMR Integration (link) with other digital applications is critical. Without strong EMR systems these services have the potential to create more problems than they solve.

For remote care, a bi-directional interface is used to communicate between EMR and the telehealth software. This allows the two platforms to instantaneously send and receive data so that they are not isolated from each other. Effectively integrating the two means that providers will avoid duplicating records while also:

  • Increasing efficiency in decision making
  • Creating faster diagnostics
  • Reducing errors in prescribing medication
  • Streamlining workflows to see more patients in a day
  • Increasing overall revenue for the organization

Top 3 EMR Software Providers Addressing These Priorities

Taking advantage of these benefits and opportunities requires the right EMR system, and in a very competitive market, there are multiple platforms to choose from. To tell the truth, there isn’t a single software system that can do it all for every type of healthcare provider.

That’s why we’ve created a quick list of three commonly used platforms and how they can each meet the unique needs of different practices.

  1. athenahealth

    Best for: Larger healthcare providers such as hospitals and bigger physician groups
    What it offers: An extensive inventory of digital applications on a cloud based platform
    Note: The functionality and convenience of athenahealth make it very useable for smaller organizations as well.

  2. Practice Fusion

    Best for: Independent medical practices
    What it offers: A platform that is affordable, easy-to-use, and cloud based
    Note: This program has been improving patient interactions with independent physicians allowing an easier exchange of information with imaging centers, labs, and pharmacies.

  3. Netsmart myUnity

    Best for: Long-term care providers
    What it offers: A design that prioritizes analytics, connectivity, and health management for larger populations. This makes it a great fit for home care programs and senior living facilities including memory care and hospice.
    Note: This platform has been recognized over several years as the industry leader in long-term care EMR solutions.

Want to learn more?

Intely is now a proud partner of athenahealth and can help you navigate the EMR integration process with ease.

Book a complimentary strategy session with our team, and we will help you determine what works best for your practice. Access our appointment calendar here and start a new journey towards optimizing your telehealth services!

What is the importance of telehealth services in modern healthcare?
  • Cost reduction: Significant savings for patients and providers, including reduced travel costs and emergency room visits.
  • Accessibility: Increased access to medical care, especially for individuals in remote or rural areas, allowing faster responses to medical issues.
  • Disease control: Effective mitigation of infectious diseases by minimizing physical contact, crucial during pandemics like COVID-19.
Why is EMR integration critical for telehealth?

EMR (Electronic Medical Records) integration is essential for efficient telehealth services as it:

  • Enhances data management: Ensures secure storage and easy exchange of medical information.
  • Improves care delivery: Supports better treatment planning and progress tracking.
  • Increases efficiency: Allows real-time data sharing between EMR and telehealth platforms, reducing duplication and errors.
What are the top EMR software providers tailored for telehealth?

The top EMR providers suitable for telehealth integration include:

  • athenahealth: Ideal for larger healthcare facilities, offering extensive digital applications on a cloud-based platform.
  • Practice Fusion: Best suited for independent medical practices, known for its affordability and ease of use.
  • Netsmart myUnity: Recommended for long-term care providers, focusing on analytics and health management.
How do telehealth and EMR integration benefit healthcare providers?

Benefits of integrating telehealth with EMR systems include:

  • Streamlined operations: More efficient workflows and quicker diagnostics.
  • Improved decision-making: Enhanced data availability aids in faster and more accurate medical decisions.
  • Revenue growth: Potential to increase the overall revenue by expanding access and reducing overhead costs.
What challenges are addressed by EMR integration in telehealth?

EMR integration helps tackle several challenges in telehealth such as:

  • Data isolation: Bridges gaps between remote care platforms and EMR systems.
  • Operational inefficiency: Eliminates repetitive tasks and information bottlenecks.
  • Clinical errors: Reduces mistakes in medication prescribing and patient data handling.

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