By Ed Simcox, Healthcare Practice Leader, Logicalis Healthcare Solutions
At Logicalis, we talk to a lot of healthcare CIOs and IT professionals. And while the clear majority are thinking about and planning ways to optimize the significant investments their organizations have made in electronic health record (EHR) systems, they know they’re missing some pieces of the puzzle. Telehealth is one of those missing links.
What few people are talking about today is the correlation between telehealth, smart image retention practices, and the optimization strategies that can maximize their returns on EHR investments. Making telehealth a more integral part of your clinicians’ daily workflow, capturing and marrying telehealth images to each patient’s electronic health record, and making those images more easily referenceable in the EHR so they can be accessed as needed and shared across a patient’s entire care team will allow your organization to deliver a better and more affordable level of care.
What is Your Telehealth Strategy Missing?
To help as you look for any missed opportunities to integrate telehealth into your organization’s overall healthcare experience, we’ve created a downloadable white paper, “How to Design and Implement a Successful Telehealth Program for Your Organization,” and we’ve also identified five commonly missed considerations for effective telehealth strategies.
Telehealth solutions are healthcare solutions enabled by technology, not a standalone solution. To eliminate the barrier between telehealth and healthcare, making the two become one practice, telehealth must be fully integrated with your organization’s EHR. That includes every aspect of the telehealth experience from scheduling to sharing clinical notes – and importantly – storing telehealth images and marrying them to the patient’s electronic record.
In any patient encounter, there is the possibility that a variety of clinicians may need to consult one another on the patient’s care. This underscores the importance of integrating multidisciplinary images – including the clinical opinions offered based on those images – for each member of the care team to access and review.
Unless telehealth-acquired images are properly catalogued and married to the patient’s electronic health record, they won’t be available when needed. No one will know they exist or where to find them, and they won’t be available for current opinions or longitudinal analyses. This means additional images and scans will need to be performed, exposing the patient to potentially unnecessary radiation, inconveniencing the patient and, of course, needlessly increasing costs.
When telehealth images are not stored or married to the EHR, some disciplines may not be able to charge for their consults. As a result, today, across a wide spectrum of specialties, it is becoming commonplace for healthcare organizations to require the retention of images their physicians use to render any professional opinion – telehealth included. Additionally, if a lawsuit should occur, without properly stored images accompanying clinical notes, there will be no visual support for the clinician’s opinion.
Best Patient Outcomes
Having a patient’s complete medical history on hand is vital in delivering favorable patient outcomes; since those records must include both clinical notes and images obtained via telehealth to be truly complete, the entire healthcare community must ask itself: If we don’t have the right patient history – including all relevant data – can we make the right diagnoses?
Want to learn more? Start by exploring the telehealth page on the Logicalis Healthcare Solutions website, then download a complimentary white paper, “How to Design and Implement a Successful Telehealth Program for Your Organization.” Now that telehealth has reached its tipping point, Logicalis healthcare IT experts say now is the time to implement telehealth plans. You can also discover more Logicalis commentary on telehealth and other related healthcare topics here.