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Why are EHR integrations important for direct primary care?

Integrated EHR system

The electronic health record (EHR) system for a direct primary care (DPC) practice serves different needs than that used by a traditional model independent practice. Given the payment structure of the DPC model, the EHR should enable easy management of membership rather than act as a system for billing and coding. Other considerations include integration with other systems. Why are EHR integrations important for direct primary care?

The main goal of EHR integrations is for the practice’s system to communicate seamlessly with other systems. Sharing healthcare information so that all providers caring for a patient can input and access the data is critical to the health outcomes of that patient. For the direct primary care practice, interoperability is also important for communicating with labs and pharmacies, to ensure comprehensive and appropriate care delivery.

EHR integrations for direct primary care practices also facilitate workflows, both clinical and administrative. DPC providers have real-time access to accurate and current patient information that can make a difference in their ability to provide quality and timely care.

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When DPC provider Jonathan Bushman, MD, was searching for an EHR solution that was more suitable for his new practice model than for the traditional practice he had transitioned from, he knew he needed a system that was more focused on membership and patient care than coding and reimbursement. A colleague suggested Elation as a system that offered seamless EHR integrations with other technology platforms.

In a recent interview, Dr. Bushman said, “I took a look at a demo of Elation and was immediately impressed. Elation was the most simple EHR I had seen. It was just all there – everything I needed, right in front of me, on one screen. I almost felt like I didn’t need to have an orientation on how to use it.”

The top priorities for Dr. Bushman were:

  • Workflow management
  • Integration with other systems
  • Spending more time with each patient
  • Quality patient care.

He notes that his greatest result so far has been the accessibility offered by the integrated solution. In addition, Dr. Bushman says that he is able to solve more cases with patients while decreasing the number of visits for each, which demonstrates an improved efficiency for his DPC practice as a result of his integrated EHR solution.

Important features of EHR integrations also include the ability to:

  • Extrapolating relevant data
  • Exporting specific data
  • Seamless communication with other providers and patients.

Dr. Bushman advises other DPC providers to “find a vendor with an open architecture that makes integration of other software solutions quick, easy, and seamless in the workflow.” Integration of external pharmacy data and individual patient formulary information is also critical for an easier, safer, and more secure prescribing process. EHR integrations with outside laboratories also improve the quality of care for the patient and the workflow for the DPC practice.

In his interview, Dr. Bushman also emphasized that direct primary care providers should “find a platform that helps you manage your day-to-day work, gives you tools to proactively manage a panel or population of patients – not just one patient at a time – and doesn’t add to the cognitive burden of the hard work of patient care.”