Advantages of Integration with EMR: All Aspects Revealed

15 Jan 2024

18 Min




Medical facilities, physicians and health service providers invest millions of dollars in EMR software development. But the majority of these systems are incompatible with each other and separated, hindering the interoperability of healthcare organizations and comprehensive patient data exchange processes. To address this challenge, seamless EMR integration across other healthcare systems is essential.

As a healthcare software development vendor with a firsthand experience in EMR system development and integration, we’ve decided to make a guide enlightening the steps of EMR implementation, its benefits, challenges, as well as the average price of this health integration.

What Is EMR Integration?

The global Electronic Medical Records (EMR) market is promising to enter: according to Future Market Insights, it’s valued at $17.6 billion by the end of 2023, and is expected to rise to $32.3 billion by 2033.

So, what is EMR integration? EMR integration is a process of linking different medical software solutions (even legacy healthcare systems) into one ecosystem to facilitate patient data exchange in terms of your medical facility.

EMR system integration offers the following health records features to use in organizations' workflows:

  • Data exchange and integration
  • Clinical decision support
  • Order management
  • Billing and revenue cycle management
  • Imaging and diagnostics
  • Audit trails and logging

Examples of software integration with EMR

In order to provide seamless and comprehensive interoperability of EMR software in the digital ecosystem of a particular medical facility, they can be integrated with the following software solutions:

Telehealth software enables remote healthcare services, allowing patients to consult with healthcare professionals virtually. Telemedicine software development and integration with EMR enhances the continuity of care, providing a comprehensive overview of the patient's health history and facilitating real-time decision-making by healthcare providers.

Laboratory systems are crucial for diagnostic testing and analysis of patient samples. Connecting them with EMR allows for the automatic exchange of laboratory results, reducing the risk of manual errors and ensuring that healthcare providers have timely access to critical diagnostic information.

Pharmacy systems handle medication-related data, including prescriptions, dispensing, and medication history. Conducting pharmacy management system creation and integration with EMR enables healthcare providers to access real-time information about a patient's medication regimen, potential drug interactions, and adherence. This integration also enhances medication management, reduces the risk of adverse drug events, and promotes better coordination between healthcare professionals and pharmacists.

Creating medical billing software aims at the financial aspects of healthcare services, including insurance claims and billing processes. Integration of these systems with EMR streamlines the billing workflow by automatically incorporating accurate and up-to-date patient data into billing records. Moreover, it improves billing accuracy, reduces administrative overhead, and accelerates the reimbursement process for healthcare providers.

Clinical trial software manages the planning, execution, and monitoring of medical research studies. Integrating these systems with EMR facilitates the identification and recruitment of eligible patients for clinical trials based on their medical history and characteristics. This integration enhances the efficiency of clinical trial recruitment, fosters collaboration between researchers and healthcare providers, and contributes to advancing medical knowledge and treatments.

Medical imaging software development (e.g., Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) aims to store and manage medical images like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans) integration with EMR patient records ensures that healthcare providers have a comprehensive view of a patient's diagnostic images directly within their electronic medical record. This integration enhances diagnostic accuracy, supports timely decision-making, and improves the overall continuity of patient care by consolidating essential medical information.

By fostering interoperability with these diverse systems, EMR integrations can contribute to a more connected and efficient healthcare ecosystem, ultimately improving patient care outcomes.

EMR system from Cleveroad

EMR mobile app for doctor developed by Cleveroad team (source: Dribbble)

Core Benefits of EMR Integration

Let’s figure out the critical advantages of integrating the electronic medical record systems with your health software.

Advantageous cost savings

The automation of billing processes through EMR system integration ensures accuracy in invoicing, reducing the likelihood of errors that may result in financial discrepancies or reimbursement delays. Moreover, the electronic storage of medical records eliminates the costs associated with physical storage, maintenance, and retrieval of paper-based records.

The streamlined workflows enabled by integration also contribute to shorter patient stays and enhanced bed management, optimizing resource allocation and further lowering overall operational costs. In the long term, these cost-saving measures allow healthcare organizations to allocate resources more effectively, invest in advanced technologies, and ultimately enhance the quality of patient care.

Centralized patient info

The patient's complete medical history is stored in a centralized location available only for your health organization. So, as a result of technological advancements in data management, your researchers have been able to effectively curate data on patients with different illnesses and improve patient care by obtaining and analyzing relevant information. Moreover, EMR integration can greatly enhance the quantity and quality of data analysis in healthcare establishments, resulting in valuable insights.

Streamlined workflows and better patient care

EMR data integration optimizes workflows by reducing clinical data redundancy and automates routine processes in your healthcare organization. This automation saves time for healthcare professionals, allowing them to focus on patient care rather than administrative tasks.

Moreover, EMR implementation provides a comprehensive view of a patient's medical history, medications, and treatment plans. This enables care teams to make more informed decisions and deliver personalized care, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

Discover how our EHR/EMR software development services will assist you in EHR creation and integration for centralized management of patient data

Efficient medication management and data-driven decision support

Integration of EMR with pharmacy systems helps in managing medications information more efficiently. Particularly, it allows healthcare providers to data access for a patient's current medications, allergies, and potential drug interactions, promoting medication safety and reducing the likelihood of adverse drug events.

You can also integrate your EMR with decision support systems which enhances clinical decision-making by providing relevant, evidence-based information (e.g., medications, allergies, etc.) at the point of care. Such a step empowers healthcare professionals with the latest research and guidelines, leading to more informed and effective treatment strategies.

The integrated EMR can benefit your healthcare organization’s flows in different ways, and we’ve enlisted only the most common ones. Now, let’s discuss how to reach these benefits through the development of electronic medical records and its implementation into your flows.

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Steps for Effective EMR System Integration

You may choose Electronic Health Records (EHR) system or Electronic Medical Records (EMR) to integrate with your health organization’s ecosystem. They both are responsible for patient data management. However, the information held by EHR is accessible for several clinics, whereas EMR data can only be managed by physicians of your hospital.

Let’s investigate the EHR/EMR integration process by steps.

Step 1. EMR integration planning

Before starting an EMR integration process, you need to thoroughly prepare for it in cooperation with a healthcare software development vendor. For example, Cleveroad healthcare development team may provide you with Discovery phase services to collect your business needs and requirements for the EMR integration. It’s essential to identify the medical digital solutions to be integrated with your EMR system. Moreover, our specialists will deeply analyze your health facility’s digital strategy and IT infrastructure, as well as the EHR/EMR documentation. We’ll also explore the data flows of both the integration sides to find out the data shared and its meaning.

Furthermore, we’ll find out necessary regulations and data transfer acts to comply with medical legislation of your country and fit the security requirements during the EMR integration. By the way, our team is also competent in creating medical software compliant to regulations, such as HIPAA, GDPR, FDA, PIPEDA, and so on. As a result, we’ll design a project plan and compile the criteria of EHR/EMR integration acceptance.

Step 2. EMR system design

At the time of the integration design, our EHR/EMR integration specialists will select the communication standards appropriate to exchange data between the EHR/EMR and the integrated medical systems. We also identify the format of the initial data storage and choose the necessary patient information exchange standards (e.g., FHIR, HL7, etc.) to organize the future process of transformation for your medical data.

Then, our experts identify the appropriate integration way to perform, like mediated integration, use of healthcare APIs or a common info storage approach. During this step, we also think out the tech stack necessary to conduct the integration operations and design the EHR/EMR integration solution.

Step 3. EMR integration and testing

Integrating Electronic Health Records (EHR) or Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems with existing healthcare systems is a complex process that requires careful planning and coordination between your organization and the medical software development vendor you cooperate with.

First off, we ensure that both your existing healthcare systems and the EHR/EMR solution adhere to interoperability standards to provide your medical organization seamless data exchange. Our specialists will also define a clear data mapping strategy to align data structures (e.g., patient demographics, medical history, prescriptions) between systems. We'll also care about security, implementing encryption protocols for data in transit and at rest, and ensuring that access controls are in place to protect sensitive patient information.

Our QA engineers will also perform integration testing in parallel with user-acceptance testing to identify and address any issues promptly. Moreover, they'll care about robust error handling mechanisms to gracefully manage issues that may arise during EHR/EMR integration.

Step 4. Maintenance and support

The finished EHR/EMR integration may need improvements due to various factors (e.g., growing number of the medical ecosystem users). So, in order to assist you with the its flawlessness, we track info transfer quality (it means our specialists check the correctness of the data transferred between EHR/EMR and other digital solutions) as well as the overall EHR/EMR integration performance and security and fix the performance issues that arise.

Challenges of Integration with EMR

Let’s discuss the major issues of technical and organizational character you may face while developing your EHR or EMR and integrating it in your hospital’s software ecosystem.

Technical issues

The standardization of the diverse data formats across different healthcare systems can complicate integration efforts. The EHR/EMR provider's team should adopt standardized data formats and establish data dictionaries to ensure consistency. Moreover, they care about regular updates to accommodate evolving healthcare industry standards.

Protecting sensitive patient information from unauthorized access or breaches is a significant concern. In order to deal with this problem, the EHR or EMR software development provider's team can implement robust encryption techniques (the Cleveroad team typically works with the industry-standard data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and secure data transfer protocols. Moreover, the regular security audits and updates conducted by a vendor's IT staff are crucial to address evolving cybersecurity threats.

Poorly designed or complex health software interfaces can lead to usability issues for the domain professionals. That's, the healthcare software development vendors should focus on creating intuitive and user-friendly interfaces, incorporating user feedback to enhance the overall experience. They can also implement training materials to help users adapt to new EMR functionality and teach them on how to use electronic medical records in cohesion with other health software.

The EMR system downtimes can disrupt healthcare operations and compromise patient care. The health software development vendors should provide prompt support for issue resolution. For instance, they can implement redundancy measures, backup systems, and conduct thorough testing to ensure the reliability and stability of integrated EMR systems.

Incompatibility between different systems and standards can hinder seamless data exchange. This problem can be solved by your EHR/EMR tech vendor you collaborate with. For example, software developers from Cleveroad can implement standardized protocols (e.g., FHIR data exchange, HL7 integration, or eRX electronic prescription healthcare integration) and use application programming interfaces (API) to enhance interoperability, ensuring smooth communication between diverse healthcare systems.

Explore top 10 healthcare APIs to integrate with your EHR/EMR system!

These are the most common tech challenges in EMR integration you should solve with a vendor. However, you need to be aware about the organizational issues that you should solve yourself by ordering internal workflows in the hospital, or another way.

Organizational problems

Healthcare professionals may resist adopting new technologies which impact the successful integration of EMRs. You can deal with it by creating comprehensive training programs to familiarize staff with the new systems, emphasizing the benefits of improved efficiency and patient care.

EMR integration can disrupt established workflows, leading to temporary inefficiencies. In this case, you should conduct a thorough analysis of existing workflows in your health facility before integration. Implement gradual rollouts, providing adequate training and support to minimize disruptions.

Defining data ownership and governance structures can lead to conflicts among healthcare stakeholders. To avoid this, you can establish clear policies regarding data ownership, access, and sharing. Involve key stakeholders in decision-making processes and ensure transparency in data management practices which is the goal of EMR integration.

The cost of implementing and maintaining integrated EMR systems can also cause problems straining organizational budgets. In order to solve this issue, prioritize investments based on critical needs, explore government incentives or grants, and negotiate pricing structures with vendors. Long-term cost benefits should be communicated to stakeholders.

Selecting the right EHR/EMR software development vendor and fostering effective collaboration is crucial for a successful health system’s integration with an efficient quality price ratio. To handle the said EMR and EHR integration issue, conduct thorough vendor evaluations, considering experience, reputation, and compatibility with organizational needs. Foster open communication and collaboration channels to address issues promptly and ensure a strong partnership.

You're welcome to explore our Clutch profile and clients' reviews to see how we've helped healthcare organizations address their business challenges

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EMR Integrations Price

The average price for EHR or EMR integration varies from $30,000 to $150,000+. In order to accurately define it, you should apply to the healthcare software development vendor. The provider’s specialists will calculate it considering among the variety of factors the most widespread ones.

1. Choice of cooperation model

The selection of a cooperation model with the team for EMR and EHR integration (e.g., in-house team, staff augmentation, outsourcing) is a crucial factor influencing the pricing of integration services. Different models, such as time and material agreements, or dedicated teams, can significantly impact costs.

The choice should align with the project scope, timelines, and the level of control desired by the healthcare organization. A well-defined and mutually agreed-upon cooperation model ensures transparency and clarity in cost structures throughout the integration process.

Discover why you should outsource healthcare software development to a reliable vendor!

2. Compliance with regulations and interoperability standards

Compliance measures, such as those outlined by HIPAA, GDPR or FDA regulations, demand rigorous security and privacy features, adding complexities to the development process. Meeting interoperability standards, like HL7 and FHIR, facilitates seamless data exchange between different healthcare systems.

Achieving and maintaining compliance necessitate additional layers of security, robust authentication mechanisms, and adherence to specific data formats. The commitment to regulatory compliance and interoperability enhances the overall quality of EMR integration but also contributes to increased development costs.

3. Complexity and volume of data migration

Large-scale healthcare data migration or migration involving diverse data types and structures require meticulous planning, extensive testing, and often specialized tools. Complex data mappings, data cleansing, and ensuring data integrity during the migration process contribute to the workload. The more intricate the data migration requirements, the more resources and time will be allocated, directly impacting the overall integration costs.

4. Number of integrations with EMR

Integrating a single application may involve less complexity than integrating multiple applications, each with unique functionalities and data formats. The need for data synchronization, workflow coordination, and ensuring seamless communication between diverse applications increases exponentially with the number of apps.

Comprehensive integration solutions that support multiple applications often require sophisticated middleware and robust EMR and EHR API, contributing to higher development and testing efforts.

5. Requirements for IT infrastructure

The IT infrastructure requirements, including costs for hardware, network, and security, are integral factors in EMR integration pricing. Robust infrastructure is essential for handling the increased data load, ensuring system scalability, and meeting performance expectations. Upgrading or investing in servers, networking equipment, and security protocols can significantly impact the overall project cost.

Moreover, enhanced security measures, including encryption and access controls, are critical in healthcare settings, adding an extra layer of complexity and associated costs to the integration process. Careful consideration and investment in IT infrastructure are imperative for the success of EMR integration projects.

Consider more price-forming factors as to healthcare app development cost from our guide!

How to Choose a Reliable Vendor for EMR Integration Into Your Digital Ecosystem

Searching for a trustworthy EHR/EMR development and integration team, you can look through the following hiring options:

  • in-house team hiring
  • staff augmentation
  • full outsourcing

We’ve prepared pros and cons for each of the options which are aimed for you to help with decision-making.

Composing an in-house team

In-house team hiring refers to the practice of recruiting and employing a dedicated team of professionals within the organization to handle all aspects of EHR or EMR integration process and share relevant patient data between different health organizations or only yours. This team works directly under the organization's management and is responsible for the entire software development life cycle.

You can find out that a cooperation with an in-house team provides direct control over the development process, enabling real-time communication, monitoring, and adjustments. In-house teams can also develop an in-depth understanding of the organization's culture, processes, and specific requirements, leading to more tailored solutions. Moreover, regular face-to-face collaboration fosters a strong team spirit and promotes a shared understanding of the project goals.

Staff augmentation option

Staff augmentation involves extending an existing in-house team's capabilities or hiring several specialists to complete the project (e.g., 1 developer, 1 QA engineer) by employing external professionals or experts on a temporary basis. These external team members, often from specialized service providers, work alongside the internal team to provide additional skills, knowledge, or manpower as needed for specific EMR and EHR integration projects.

IT staff augmentation allows for flexible scaling of the team size, accommodating project fluctuations and ensuring optimal resource utilization. What is more, organizations can tap into a pool of specialized skills by augmenting their existing team with experts in specific technologies or domains. The staff augmentation option also provides cost savings compared to hiring permanent employees, as well as employment time saving. Experienced professionals can be quickly integrated into existing teams, minimizing onboarding time and accelerating project timelines.

Full outsourcing

This model entails contracting an external service provider or development firm to take complete responsibility for the EMR and EHR integration process. In this model, the organization delegates the entire project to the outsourcing partner, who manages everything from planning and development to implementation and ongoing support.

Let’s look through the advantages the outsourcing model can bring for your project:

  • It leads to cost savings, as organizations can leverage the lower labor costs in other regions or countries (e.g., Central and Eastern Europe or CEE region famous for its value for money).
  • You can gain access to a diverse and extensive pool of global talent, including specialists in various technologies and industries.
  • The outsourcing partner assumes responsibility for project delivery, reducing your risks and allowing your health facility to focus on core competencies.
  • Outsourcing providers can quickly scale up or down based on project requirements, offering flexibility in resource allocation.

There are also drawbacks of the outsourcing model you should consider:

  • Differing time zones and potential language barriers may lead to communication challenges, impacting collaboration and project timelines.
  • The organization becomes dependent on the outsourcing partner's performance, and it may pose challenges in transitioning the project back in-house or to a new provider.
  • The outsourcing partner may not fully understand the client's business goals, leading to solutions that do not align perfectly with the organization's long-term strategy.

Kindly note that the drawbacks can easily be solved if the vendor pays attention to the flow organization and cooperation details with their clients. Cleveroad is a healthcare outsourcing software development company, attentive to the arrangement of the seamless communication process with you, and quick dealing with any IT issues you may face.

For a comfortable cooperation with you, we offer staff augmentation services and dedicated development team services to expand your in-house team and provide it with a relevant healthcare EHR or EMR system integration experience.

In order to offer you the dedicated healthcare software development team fitting your business requirements, we:

  1. Collect all the organizational aspects and EHR/EMR project details you provide us with by holding series of meetings
  2. Gather a team of healthcare IT development professionals based on your requirements
  3. Allow them to study your EMR integration requirements and read the documentation before they go to work
  4. Give you ability to scale the team up and down according to your current project needs

Let us tell more about our company capable of offering the enlisted healthcare software development services for your medical project.

Cleveroad EHR/EMR Software Development Services For Your Business

Our healthcare software developers have hands-on experience of resilient EMR/EHR development from scratch, their integration and modernization for 12+ years. Moreover, integrating your EHR/EMR system with other medical software solutions, we care about the security of your medical solutions and their compliance to international regulatory standards.

Our clients choose us because of the following cooperational benefits:

  • We offer agile-minded and experienced healthcare IT developers to succeed with your EMR and EHR integration with other healthcare systems
  • Our team designs EHR and EMR systems in accordance with industry standards and regulations (e.g., FHIR, HIPAA, GDPR, etc.)
  • The in-depth consultation with one of our healthcare IT development specialists such as Solution Architect, Business Analyst or a Project Manager as to the intricacies of your medical project idea
  • The manual, automated and end-to-end testing for your EHR/EMR integraiton seamless functioning
  • Collaboration with an ISO-certified tech partner caring about your patient data security, quality of info transferred and risk management while developing and integrating EMR/EHR software

We would like to present you our successful case of EMR development and integration.

Our customer is a clinic that offers online rehabilitation services based in the United States. They were using a SaaS Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system with outdated features and limited adaptability. That’s why they needed a healthcare IT provider to replace the SaaS platform with a customized clinic management system with EMR. It was also important to ensure that the new system would comply with HIPAA regulations.

Clinic management system by Cleveroad

Clinic management system created by Cleveroad

Our team created an EMR solution from scratch together with medical mobile apps. We transferred user data securely to the new platform. The solution is deployed on AWS cloud hosting, meeting HIPAA standards, and we used AES-256 encryption and other measures to protect PHI and ePHI. Moreover, we’ve conducted a seamless integration of EMRs with mobile apps and client’s medical systems.

As a consequence, our customer received a clinic management system that is customized and resilient. It includes a regulatory-compliant EMR system where patient data is transferred to secure storage. The solution also provides therapeutic assistance and rehabilitation services to patients.

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Frequently Asked Questions
What is an EMR integration?

EMR integration is a process of linking different medical software solutions (even legacy healthcare systems) into one ecosystem. This way, EMR integration offers connectivity between the departments of one medical facility and speed up their internal workflows.

What are the advantages of healthcare data management through EMR integration?

Healthcare data management via EMR integration results in cost-saving benefits for the organization. Additionally, the centralized patient information facilitates the reception of accurate patient data from different EMR systems. This, in turn, contributes to streamlined workflows and enhances patient care. Moreover, healthcare software applications can efficiently utilize this integrated data for improved functionality and accessibility. Efficient data entry into a unified system further supports the seamless flow of information within the healthcare infrastructure.

What is the process of ensuring successful EMR integration?

The process of ensuring successful EMR integration is a series of activities aimed at uniting the developed EMR module with the existing medical systems of your organization to provide better interoperability. Health IT companies play a crucial role in this process, leveraging their expertise to seamlessly connect and ensure that data is shared between different healthcare information systems. Recognizing the power of EMR in managing medical data, organizations strive for a successful EMR integration to optimize patient care and streamline medical operations.

What are the types of software integration with EMR?

EMR systems, including EHRs, can be integrated with various healthcare software solutions, such as telehealth software, clinical trial management systems, medication management digital solutions, healthcare CRMs, and many others, depending on your business needs. EHR/EMR software development companies play a pivotal role in implementing these integrations, ensuring that data is shared effectively and contributing to the overall success of the EMR platform. Utilizing EMR or EHR APIs is also a viable option, allowing seamless communication between different healthcare applications and systems.

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About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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