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Why EHR Integration Requires Outside Help

Healthcare is the largest, most powerful industry in the American economy. According to Forbes, even during recent recessions, healthcare jobs have been added. Why? Says Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare: “More people have access to health benefits, people are living longer and technological advancements are creating new opportunities in medicine every day, This will translate to more jobs for both clinical and non-clinical professionals.”

Isn’t it unusual, then, that this rapidly-growing sector of our economy would be so slow to embrace digital, electronic solutions? Absolutely! We can trace back the healthcare sector’s resistance to connectivity and interoperability to multiple factors: A highly fragmented, out-of-sync industry; unique treatment and diagnostic services by each practice, lab, or center; and very expensive equipment that’s unable to communicate with certain systems and databases.

In this article, we’ll discuss why connectivity is so important, and why – despite the built-in challenges facing the healthcare sector – many in the industry are reluctant to outsource their interconnectivity needs.

Diagnostic Centers and Labs Need Connectivity To Thrive

Over the past decade or so, the United States government has increasingly incentivized electronic health records (EHRs). This really began in 2009, with the implementation of the Health Information for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The mandate allocated a large budget to training health information technology workers and assisting hospitals and providers in fully understanding and implementing EHRs.

The idea behind the directive: Sharing data once hidden in paper files would lead to better, smarter, and more positive patient outcomes. Says the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: “Widespread use of health IT within the health care industry will improve the quality of health care, prevent medical errors, reduce health care costs, increase administrative efficiencies, decrease paperwork, and expand access to affordable health care.”

Notably, the government financially incentivizes healthcare providers to embrace EHRs. Now it’s time for Imaging Centers and Labs to step up to the plate and further improve patient care by helping their Referring Providers fully embrace EHRs through interconnectivity.  

Hiring a Vendor to Manage your EHR Connectivity Saves Time And Money

Interoperability and connectivity with EHRs is here to stay.   However, many diagnostic facilities and labs shy away from the topic of interoperability due to perceived costs and lack of qualified resources.  To retrain and grow the referral base, diagnosting facilities and labs should capitalize on the opportunity presented by interoperability by being proactive.  

Instead of tasking in-house staff unfamiliar with true connectivity challenges, diagnostic facilities should consider outsourcing.  There are built-in savings when outsourcing these connectivity challenges to independent experts that completely understand the undertaking. Subcontracting is cost-effective, easily scalable, and still completely controllable.

Unfortunately, Many Centers and Labs Are Afraid To Outsource

Why is there such hesitation to truly embrace EHR connectivity? The government calls for it – and incentivizes it. There are very experienced, affordable vendors willing and able to help. We’ve found there is a real, notable resistance to subcontracting that is preventing diagnostic centers and labs from achieving true modern connectivity.

Healthcare facilities, traditionally, are filled with hired, in-house employees. Even IT departments and other auxiliary departments, such as accounting and marketing, are full-time employees. Some practices are simply (and unreasonably) averse to hiring vendors to take on such important, ongoing projects.

IT departments, in particular, are resistant to subcontracting – even though they typically lack the experience necessary to complete these projects themselves. We have seen this time and time again: Ambitious IT departments take on EHR connectivity assignments, destined to fail. There are too many moving parts, too many other day-to-day responsibilities, and too many demands from stakeholders.

While it’s possible that your in-house IT department could take on some of your connectivity strategy, you might find that it pulls them off other important assignments at which they truly excel, that the team lacks real experience, and that they fail to complete projects on-time.

Consider Subcontracting an EHR Connectivity Vendor for Best Results

If your diagnostic center or lab is serious about connectivity, commit to this important upgrade and get it done right the first time. Outsource this work to a contracted team of true interconnectivity experts. You’ll likely find that the work is not only more cost-efficient than had you stayed in-house, but that this outsource work is also more thorough, better strategized, and higher-quality.

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