As more providers go live with Allscripts, we often hear the request for better integration between the EHR and external devices. With all the biometric equipment in a modern practice, the goal should be to pull as much data directly into the EHR as possible. One of Allscripts’ largest clients in the Northeast is leading the way by pulling data directly from Welch Allyn vitals devices and Midmark EKG devices across Citrix. There are also plans to integrate Holter monitors soon as well. This shows that it can be done, but there are some things to consider when going this route.
Device integration obviously takes some effort to set up and support. When you bring in third-party devices to the EHR, you need to take responsibility for that connection. Resources and time will be needed to manage and troubleshoot their communication. It is critical that you have strong Allscripts technical resources available during this integration. Similarly, a strong partnership with the device vendor is important. Fortunately, device communication is getting increased attention from both Allscripts and many of the biomed device vendors. Make sure you are working with someone who understands the requirements.
Overall in our experience, the benefits usually outweigh the cost of support efforts, especially if the device is used frequently in a practice. Think about a clinic that takes vitals for each patient. The time that a nurse or medical assistant would otherwise spend manually entering each vitals panel can now be directed back towards the patient. The EHR becomes simpler to use, and its data becomes more accurate and reliable.
For a Cardiologist who orders 15 EKG’s a day, being able to view them effortlessly from the patient’s chart is a great time-saver. One of the biggest complaints we hear from EHR users is that they spend too much time on the computer. By integrating external devices, you can give them some of that time back.
Allscripts is in the process of expanding its list of UAI certified devices, so be sure to check with an Allscripts representative for the latest list of certified manufacturers. The capabilities for device integration are improving quickly.