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Why full EHR integration should be your first priority, not your last

Date: 07.14.2022
Brian Carter, Chief Operating Officer
Clinician typing on computer
Clinician typing on computer

A recent comment from J.D. Whitlock, CIO of Dayton Children’s Hospital, at a Becker’s Shift to Digital Virtual Event in June, struck a chord with me.

“There are billions of dollars being wasted in innovation that people don’t understand how a health system works, and don’t understand that you can come up with a cool thing, but if it doesn’t integrate with clinical workflow then the providers won’t use it. Maybe you should think of that ahead of time. Maybe you should think of what your strategy is for tying it to the EHR app store as one of the first things you’re planning, not the last thing you’re planning.” - J.D. Whitlock, CIO, Dayton Children’s

When we consider that ambulatory physicians spend more than five hours on EHR use for every eight hours of scheduled patient time and current patient panel sizes range from 1,200 to 1,900 per physician, it is easy to see how untenable and unworkable a separate, non-EHR-integrated solution is. It’s not that it will add even more computer work to the overburdened physician – they just won’t use it.

Healthcare organizations need fully integrated, enterprise solutions, not only to ease the burden for physicians and care teams, but also to grow and scale programs to serve entire patient populations.

A familiar story to us is an organization launching a remote patient monitoring pilot program for 50 to 100 of its high-risk, chronically ill patients – the premise being that by monitoring vital signs and intervening earlier at the first sign of an issue, the organization can avoid adverse outcomes and hospitalizations. 

The pilot program is successful – patients are engaged and satisfied, the clinicians who were given logins to the solutions like that they know more about what’s happening with their patients, and clinical outcomes start to improve. But, how to get from 50 to 100 patients to 5,000 to 10,000 patients?

With a remote care platform managed outside of the EHR, it’s likely the organization had to bring on more staff or ask current staff to do more. Every staff member who wants access needs to get setup with a login (and if they leave the organization, to be deprovisioned). Perhaps the solution offers a  data interface or basic visual integration to connect certain demographic information with EHR patient records, but patient enrollment, management, and follow-up on actions taken as a result of alerts still occur in a separate system with a separate login.

At best, this makes management of the pilot program cumbersome and disconnected from in-office care. At worst, it means the organization can’t replicate the positive results across the entire enterprise.

At Validic, we take seriously our commitment to easing the clinician burden and building technology that makes healthcare easier, not more difficult. Some of our clients have had this experience of going from a standalone solution to our fully integrated application and they understand and appreciate the difference.

Our largest client, with more than 250,000 enrolled since program inception and more than 6,000 enrolling physicians, reports improved outcomes (12% reduction in systolic blood pressure for hypertension patients in 45 days) and increased efficiency (88% of physicians report time savings with a 63% decrease in the time physicians needed to spend on the phone with their patients). There is no way they could have achieved scale of this magnitude without full EHR integration, making the remote health data for every member accessible to the entire care team.

Read more about Validic's integrated remote care solution or download our one-page guide about the different levels of integration and what they mean for your organization.

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