How to Build a Custom Telemedicine EHR Software: Importance and Core Features

How to Build a Custom Telemedicine EHR Software: Importance and Core Features

13 March 2021 • 7 min read

It's become standard practice for clinicians to use the data and analytics provided by EHR systems to improve patient outcomes and ensure high-quality care. Now, COVID-19 brings an increased reliance on telemedicine. According to JAMA, the “pandemic has dramatically altered patterns of health care delivery in the US.” Consequently, healthcare practitioners are seeing the enormous value of telehealth EHR integration.

In this article, we'll look at the importance of telemedicine EHR software after COVID and examine the must-have features of telemedicine EHR software. We'll go over how to integrate telemedicine software features into your existing EHR software and explore the cost and steps required for virtual healthcare software development.

Clinicians in all areas of medicine can streamline operations and improve patient care when they integrate telehealth into EHR. Read on to learn more.

The Importance of Telemedicine EHR Software after COVID

Even before the global pandemic, the healthcare industry had embraced EHR systems and was engaged in a slow but steady shift to telemedicine. As that trend continues, the application of those technologies is becoming a key part of clinic operations, with both telemedicine and EHR taking an important role in the future of healthcare. The reason for this is simple — both telehealth and EHR result in more efficient operations and better patient care, plus, coupling the technologies makes both more effective.

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The function of an EHR system is to collect and store patient health information in a digital format. It has an interface that makes it easy for clinic staff and medical professionals to search and access patient information.

Telemedicine is the provision of remote clinical services, such as diagnosis and monitoring, using telecommunication tools. It includes the electronic distribution of health-related information.

The connection between these two technologies is plain to see, and telemedicine integration opportunities abound. Telemedicine EHR software improves patient-provider communication and simplifies patients' access to healthcare. It also lowers administrative costs for the healthcare providers.

While virtual appointments have been more common during the pandemic as a means of minimizing face-to-case interaction between patients and staff, the adoption of telehealth was well underway before the pandemic and will continue to be one of the predominant ways that healthcare is administered.

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When combining the capabilities of EHR with telemedicine in the course of integrated telemedicine solution development, certain core features emerge—features that are not present in either of the two technologies on their own. Here's a list of core features of telemedicine EHR software.

  • Single-point Data Entry — Telemedicine EHR software ensures that providers and staff never enter the same information twice. After a remote consultation, providers create a detailed record of the telehealth visit, and if they employ medical software integration that unites telehealth and EHR, there's only one system in which to enter the data. Information gathered during a telehealth visit is automatically added to the patient’s health record, streamlining data entry, and reducing the chance of errors.
  • Synchronized Patient Insurance Data — Many insurance companies cover telehealth services, but coverage varies, and it can be difficult to track. A patients’ insurance information must be available to clinicians at the time of the visit. With integrated telemedicine and EHR systems, practitioners and staff can easily verify patient benefits and eligibility.
  • Improved Workflow — When telemedicine systems and EHR software are integrated, clinicians can streamline operations to create a better experience for administrative staff, for the medical professionals conducting telehealth consultations, and for patients. Due to the centralized data access and unified interface that telemedicine EHR software provides, every operational step, from scheduling to appointment follow-up, occurs with zero friction.
  • Optimized Patient Care Experience — Providers can conduct audio/video consultations with patients while effortlessly referencing their health records. Doctors can look up a patient's medication allergies and pharmacy data before issuing E-prescriptions. When telehealth and EMR systems are merged, providers get access to the data they need in real-time, creating an efficiency that matches that of a face-to-face office visit.
  • Patient-focused Reporting — The information that comes from a telehealth consultation must be made available to the patient in an easy-to-understand format that summarizes the diagnosis and explains the practitioner's orders. Fully integrated systems also allow patients to access their medical history.
  • Security and Compliance — The security of patient data should be a top priority for healthcare providers. Electronic medical records (EMR) have become standard in the healthcare industry and telemedicine EMR integration ensures that the collection, storage, and sharing of data is HIPAA compliant. It also helps organizations meet various standards in healthcare information exchange, like the widely recognized guidelines defined by HL7 and CCHIT. Read also: HL7 Integration. A Healthcare Standard Overview

When a telehealth system is fully integrated with a custom EHR system, clinicians enjoy the benefits of efficient data entry and access, can provide a better patient experience, and are able to optimize all phases of their practice’s operations. You can find more details about effective telehealth programs in the Health IT playbook created by Next, let's discuss what's involved when integrating EHR with telemedicine systems.

Adding Telemedicine Software Features to Your Existing EHR Software

Telemedicine EHR software is always either EHR software with telehealth features added or it’s designed to be a hybrid system from the beginning. Both are valid approaches, but right now, let's look at what's involved in adding telemedicine capabilities to your existing EHR software.

An EHR system collects patient health information in a digital format. In addition to patients' demographics, medical history, and medication data, electronically sharable records contain information about immunization status, lab results, billing details, etc.

What would integration between telemedicine software and your EHR system look like?

Imagine being able to schedule, prepare for, launch, conduct, and follow-up on virtual visits, all from within the patient's record.

A properly executed telemedicine EHR system that's built upon your current EHR platform will expose all the capabilities of a full-featured video conferencing system and seamlessly integrate them with the features of your EHR system.

Providing virtual care in an EHR system is the best way for practitioners to integrate customer data into the telehealth process and streamline patient care. Administrative staff can check a patient in, a nurse can take over, and finally, the provider will interact with the patient—all steps are handled over video, with all required patient data readily available. Read also: Telemedicine Trends for 2021

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The 3 Most Important Steps in Creating Telehealth EHR Software

Whether you're adding telehealth functionality to your EHR system or you want to develop custom telemedicine EHR software as a hybrid system, there are some steps you'll need to follow. Even when outsourcing such development work, it's important to acknowledge what's involved, so let's take a quick look at the general steps required to create telehealth EHR software.

Step 1. Understand Clinic Workflow

Appointment scheduling, confirmation, notification of the physician—that's the first half of a typical telehealth workflow. At the time of the appointment, the provider connects to the telemedicine EHR system, reviews patient records, conducts the consultation, and delivers the diagnosis and orders. The video session ends.

As common as those workflow elements are, most practices will have additional requirements that call for custom telemedicine EHR software development. Detailing a clinic's workflow is the first and most important step in creating efficient telemedicine EHR software.

Step 2. Create an Integrated Telemedicine Mobile App

The audio-video feed that connects doctor and patient should seem like part of the EHR system, and users should be able to access the system via an iOS or Android phone app. The app can be branded to fully represent the healthcare organization, but more importantly, it should be easy for patients to use.

The interface that a patient uses to check medical history or get lab results is the same as that used to create an appointment and take part in the telehealth session because it's all done in the same app.

From the perspective of clinic staff and physicians, the telemedicine EHR app will provide remote access to patient data, allowing for more flexible operations. It will enable efficient data entry, make patient insurance information available, and ensure data security and regulatory compliance.

Step 3. Implement Telemedicine Website Access

The cohesive features of a telemedicine EHR app will need to be duplicated on the web. To accommodate patients who do not use a smartphone, your telemedicine EHR software solution must include a web interface that allows patients to see their medical data, request a telehealth appointment, take part in a video consultation, and get follow-up information.

Building Telehealth EHR Software—What's the Cost?

Some practices leave their EHR and telehealth systems separate or take advantage of a few minor integration opportunities but otherwise treat the systems as distinct entities. Those providers pay a price in inefficiency every day. The price of integrating your ERM and telehealth systems is favorable.

A web development company that employs experienced software professionals can get the job done quickly and at a low price. On the other hand, hiring a freelance developer could cause the project to drag on and cost more than it should. Based on average programmer salaries in the US and an estimated development time of six months, when opting for freelance development, cost of telemedicine software could be between $75,000 and $100,000.

Healthcare providers who want to save time and money on their telemedicine EHR software development can outsource the work to an experienced development company. A seasoned development group with experience in telemedicine and EHR can create a customized solution that meets the needs of any healthcare provider.

Healthcare Software Solutions from Softermii

The custom telemedicine EHR solutions that Softermii creates allow providers to schedule and conduct telehealth sessions with their patients efficiently and securely. Through custom telemedicine solution development, our talented team will integrate with your existing EHR system, or if necessary, implement one and seamlessly integrate state-of-the-art video conferencing functionality.

Solutions can be based on Softermii's robust WebRTC video conferencing platform. It delivers core functionality for web-based communication across all browsers and devices and has been integral in helping the company develop custom telehealth EHR software.

Softermii is an experienced healthcare software development company that has tackled multiple healthcare-related projects. There's HIPAA Video, for example, a new web-based doctor-patient video-meeting platform that provides a highly functional environment for medical practitioners and their clients to take part in remote consultations. It features a versatile dashboard for client management by clinic staff along with unified record keeping. We have also created Medrealtime, a telemedicine video consultation app for doctors and patients. Softermii has also been deeply entrenched in the world of medical record security and compliance, creating reliable solutions that guard against the unlawful acquisition of users' medical data.

Practice Integrated Telehealth with Telemedicine EHR Software

The pandemic should be ending soon, but many believe that the surge in telemedicine that came with it is here to stay. Clinicians can leverage the power of telemedicine EHR software to enhance their practice, achieving better patient outcomes and ensuring healthcare of the highest quality. For ready access to patient data in a secure but sharable format, telehealth integration is the answer.

Softermii creates custom integrated telehealth solutions that let providers schedule and conduct patient consultations, with sessions supported by access to patient data in real time. Outsourcing the development of your telehealth EHR system to healthcare software veterans like the team at Softermii is the fastest, most cost-effective, and efficient way for clinicians to acquire a world-class telemedicine EHR solution.

We hope this examination of telemedicine EHR software development has been enlightening. We explored the key features of telehealth EHR systems, looked at what's involved when developers integrate telehealth systems with existing EHR software, and briefly examined the cost of telemedicine system and steps required to develop telehealth EHR software. Please reach out to explore how Softermii can create a full-featured telemedicine EHR system for your practice.

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