Integrating EHRs with Telehealth: Enhancing Remote Clinical Care

Integrating EHRs with Telehealth: Enhancing Remote Clinical Care

The rapid shift to telehealth during the pandemic highlighted the pivotal role of EHR systems in virtual care delivery. Integrating telehealth platforms into EHR workflows can enhance clinical care, care coordination, patient monitoring, and documentation for providers.

Here are key integration opportunities and benefits explored in-depth:

  1. EHR access during virtual visits helps inform clinical decision-making with comprehensive patient data.
  2. Integrated platforms allow smooth EHR-telehealth interoperability for coordinated care.
  3. Remote patient monitoring data can be tracked through the EHR between visits.
  4. EHR-based patient histories and records maintain continuity of care across telehealth.
  5. Proper documentation of telehealth services in the EHR is crucial for providers.

Informed Clinical Decision-Making during Telehealth Visits

Being able to access the patient’s full medical record during virtual consultations provides vital clinical context to inform your diagnostic and treatment decisions. This includes their medical history, current medications, allergies, recent and past test results, specialist records, images from prior scans or endoscopies, genetic testing results, procedure notes, and other key details. Patients are unlikely to accurately recall all this pertinent information when seen virtually. The ability to view such comprehensive data improves clinical judgement when you cannot see patients in-person.

For instance, accessing a new patient’s medication list allows you to assess for high-risk drug interactions before prescribing anything new. Old lab results can reveal previously abnormal levels or trends to guide your evaluation. Seeing prior cardiac stress test images would help you better evaluate vague chest pain complaints without re-ordering expensive tests. Detailed procedure notes from surgeries years prior provide insight into the patient’s anatomy you cannot visualize on a video call. Access to comprehensive data like this supports accurate clinical decision-making and prevents unnecessary or redundant orders when seeing patients virtually.

A cloud-based, interoperable EHR system that you can conveniently access from laptops, tablets or mobile devices enables this seamless data access from any location during virtual consults. Intuitive clinical decision support built into the EHR can further help providers interpret key data and make optimal evidence-based decisions.

Coordinated Care across In-Office and Virtual Visits

Some EHR systems allow tight integration with telehealth platforms through modern APIs (application programming interfaces) and other interfaces. This allows for convenient EHR access alongside seamless telehealth workflow integration. Patients can request telehealth visits directly through an online patient portal integrated with the EHR schedule. On the provider side, telehealth visits can be conducted through the EHR interface, with immediate access to the patient’s updated record.

During the visit, providers can place orders, prescribe medications, and update problems, which flow directly into the EHR in real-time. Afterward, visit notes are documented straight into the EHR through both templated and non-templated note-taking. No manual scanning of outside paper notes is needed. All follow-up tasks, referrals, and instructions also get autogenerated into the EHR activity timeline.

This kind of seamless integration creates a unified patient record across in-office and virtual visits within the same EHR. You as the provider have comprehensive visibility into your patient’s care across all modalities – when they were seen, complaints discussed, medication changes, pending orders, upcoming appointments scheduled, and all other clinical details. This holistic view supports coordinated care between in-person and telehealth encounters for each patient.