By Nicholas Chepesiuk, for MedTech Intelligence
July 22, 2021
As organizations continue to use technology to enhance the way they provide care, changes must be made to ensure the interoperability of the technology, patient data and continuity between providers.
Telehealth has come a long way and is here to stay. Prior to the pandemic, telehealth was primarily used to augment in-person operations but when COVID-19 protocols shuttered healthcare facilities, it enabled healthcare providers to offer accessible, equitable, and high-quality care to patients where and when they needed it most. Now, as patients are becoming accustomed to the flexibility and convenience that it provides, 77% of Americans say they will use some form of telehealth after COVID-19.1
While telehealth is increasingly helping innovative healthcare organizations to exclusively treat patients across state lines in various medical settings—such as addiction treatment, mental health care, rehab, or home healthcare—it is not foolproof. As organizations continue to use technology to enhance the way they provide care, changes must be made to ensure the interoperability of the technology, patient data and continuity between providers. A lack of interoperability between systems can be felt across healthcare organizations and by patients, manifesting as a lack of continuity in patient care and provider burnout. Now, healthcare providers and leaders face the challenge of connecting their systems for better healthcare delivery.
One enterprise that confronted and overcame this challenge is Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. (Pyramid). In 2020, Pyramid launched a new virtual healthcare division, Pyramid Online Counseling, to expand its brick and mortar operations and offer mental healthcare, addictions care, and behavioral treatment to patients across the United States using a secure and integrated telemedicine platform provided by a solutions partner. Pyramid uses the telemedicine platform to power its telehealth program while storing patient appointment information and historical data in an EMR.
Initially, the telehealth platform and Pyramid’s EMR system were not connected, meaning that providers and administrative staff had to manually add the same patient information to both systems to ensure information was documented in both. This was exacerbated by the volume of clients Pyramid was caring for, as manual documentation was forcing providers to take time away from patient care. However, by integrating OnCall Health’s API (Application Programming Interface), Pyramid was able to connect its EMR to the telehealth solution and eliminate the administrative redundancies affecting its operations. Now, providers are entering patient information, like contact details or appointment notes into one platform, with the API immediately passing the data to the other system.
An API enables different software applications to “talk to each other”, and connects platforms and software across an organization so data is shared between them. This technology helps data flow between systems seamlessly while reducing administrative redundancies, so providers can be proactive, focused, and improve continuity of care across their organizations.
Not only has Pyramid expanded their brick and mortar operations to increase revenue with telemedicine, but they’ve optimized provider efficiency and saved costs with the API. In addition, Pyramid scheduled more than 1,879 in its first two months using the telehealth platform, with 998% quarterly growth in appointments scheduled overall. By reimagining healthcare through integrated systems, Pyramid transformed how the organization provides care with a connected system powering its operations.
With integrations and APIs readily available, healthcare leaders and providers now have the ability to liberate patient data so patient information is readily accessible and available. A provider who has access to patient data can use the data to optimize their care and create better health outcomes for patients.
Making healthcare accessible is more than just digitizing an old model; it means continuing to develop innovative technology that touches every part of the patient and provider journey, so both the healthcare touchpoint and patient data is always accessible. With connected telemedicine systems leading the way, better healthcare, and business, is possible.