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4 Reasons to Integrate Physician Practices Electronically

Written by Rich Murphy, Director, Interoperability Solutions, Iatric Systems

POI Global Blog Post Header July 2019

It's quite common for patients to move throughout their community seeing numerous physicians as part of their treatment plan. Connecting these provider practices with the hospital HIS system for seamless data exchange can prove to be challenging. 

In spite of the investments in electronic data exchange over recent years, I still see a fair number of hospitals receiving provider orders via fax, phone call or patient hand carry paper orders. These approaches can be somewhat effective, but they introduce their own set of challenges such as:   

  • Is the fax machine on-line and functioning when needed? Otherwise the hospital may receive a batch of orders for processing when fax machine issues have been corrected. (interesting side note: Faxing technology was first used in the mid-1800s!) 
  • Will the patient remember to bring their order to the
    hospital? 
  • What if the patient loses their order
    • This has happened to me personally in the past. I needed to go back to my physician’s office and request a new paper requisition!
How do we match the patients between various systems if we don’t have sufficient matching/patient information from each practice? 

The use of a third-party physician order processing application can help alleviate the issues mentioned above. The application uses HL7 interfacing to process patient orders and results for seamless integration between the hospital HIS and the physician practice.

Here are four benefits of using a third-party application to process physician orders and replace older workflows:

Real-time data exchange: 

Orders placed within physician practices are transmitted to an order processing application the moment each order is filed within the practice EHR system. These orders are then available to the hospital staff for processing immediately. 

Patient results created within the hospital HIS system are then transmitted to the appropriate provider practices. This eliminates costly data delays which can be seen with paper and fax-based workflows.    
 
Accuracy: 

Each time a user hand enters patient data, the possibility exists for incorrect data entry. Using an electronic order and results processing application, all data is exchanged electronically, significantly reducing the chances for incorrect or inaccurate data. 

EMPI patient matching:

Physician order processing applications can interact with a hospital's existing EMPI system to perform patient matching using industry standard approaches such as PIX/PDQ. The combination of a physician order processing application and the EMPI system can significantly reduce patient matching errors.

Using both of these systems together allows the hospital to define specific business rules to define their comfort level with individual patient matching between the connected systems.  

Seamless bi-directional integration:

The order processing application can enrich patient result messages with the original ordering system's order information for proper order linking between the physician practice and hospital HIS system.

This allows the textual results to accurately tie back to the original order in the physician practice completing the workflow loop for the order.

I don't think anyone that is still using a manual process for order transfers would say that it is their preferred method.

If you are still using a manual method to process physician orders, and want to find a better, easier way to automate the process, join me for a live webinar "Automate Patient Data Transfer from Your Physician Offices" on August 20th at 2pm ET. Register here.

Topics: Interoperability, EHR integration, integration, POI, workflow integration, Physician Office Integration

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