by James Rachlin
When it comes to clinical patient records, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) is inarguably the single source of truth. Many health systems use additional point solutions to gather patient data, but they end up being crudely tacked onto existing IT infrastructure and not fully integrated, resulting in data silos. So while these point solutions may address a patient data gap, our customers often tell us that toggling from the EHR to another portal or website to log or review patient information is disruptive and time-consuming. What’s more, health system leaders say, point solutions require staff to get trained on additional systems.
We believe in meeting our customers where they are and, as such, that integrating patient engagement solutions tightly with the EHR workflow is critical. That’s why our strategy is to build integrations directly into EHRs that enable health systems to gain an all-around view of the patient across both the EHR and CipherHealth solutions directly within the EHR.
APIs are at the core of our strategy. Health systems need a modernized approach to integrations that allows data to load back into the EHR and, in some cases, in real-time. APIs allow for data to be exchanged at will and at a scale for a high level of data richness and availability. Our customers’ needs can change rapidly, and APIs enable functionality that can adjust for those rapid changes. Most importantly, APIs allow end users to make timely, proactive decisions to improve patient care when it matters most.
Our two newest solutions, Enhanced Appointment Reminders and EHR Activation Gateway, represent two different methods of API-based integration with the EHR and address the need for a true enterprise platform that our customers have identified. Enhanced Appointment Reminders provides a streamlined way to automate appointment rescheduling and facilitate self-service rescheduling via text message by communicating directly with the EHR. By removing the administrative burden on our customers’ scheduling staff, it allows them to focus on more pressing clinical needs. EHR Activation Gateway facilitates the reliable delivery of patient messages sent via the EHR. With our cloud-enabled solution, CipherHealth is equipped to handle large volumes of messages reliably and at speed in order to reach more patients so healthcare professionals can rest assured that the messages are arriving at patients’ phones promptly.
While we’re currently leveraging Epic(r) App Orchard(SM) to build out new solutions, we intend to continue leveraging additional APIs to surface more data, such as Post-discharge Outreach results, directly within EHRs. Additionally, recognizing that health systems are increasingly using new data standards such as FHIR, we intend to be at the forefront of interoperability with emerging standards. This will allow our customers to stay confident that as the healthcare industry evolves, we are “future-proofing” our solutions to continue to meet their integration needs.
Our product strategy going forward will reflect market trends. Workflow efficiency is paramount, and we intend to bring all of our industry-leading patient engagement solutions closer to the customer by building integrations that tie our solutions closer to the EHR.
James Rachlin is the Principal Product Management Lead at CipherHealth focusing on integrations and interoperability. James has spent over 10 years leading healthcare interoperability efforts at national and state-level health information exchanges and several technology vendors.