Building Connection: EMR Interfaces Support Quality and Efficiency

Nearly all healthcare providers in the United States now use electronic medical record systems, or EMRs. The EMRs capture multiple data points required within an organization to coordinate all aspects of care. Creating connectivity between these systems is key to overall efficiency and accuracy. Unfortunately, with many different EMR vendors and configurations, systems don’t always talk to each other. Often, users must enter the same information into multiple systems. Beyond the obvious inconvenience, such dual entry can create problems later if there are discrepancies.

Interfaces between systems eliminate dual entry but building and maintaining them is a full-time job. At Enclara Pharmacia, a whole team is dedicated to ensuring the seamless transfer of patient information. The team includes EMR integration implementation specialists, client liaisons, integration engineers and developers. This service is provided to clients at no additional charge, although EMR vendors may impose their own additional fees for interfacing.

“We have very solid interface connections for a variety of hospice EMRs with over 99 percent uptime,” said Senior Manager of Interface Implementation, Matt Repec. “By having subject matter experts on all the major EMRs on our team, we’re able to provide reliable service and quickly troubleshoot problems when they do occur.”

There are two types of interfaces provided: demographic and medication. Demographic interfaces capture a patient’s unique identifiers and location of care from referral to discharge. Patient medication profiles are built at admission and all changes are documented throughout the hospice enrollment. Adding a medication interface allows the medication entries to support multiple functions, including ordering through the Enclara mail order pharmacy or a local community pharmacy through integrated e-prescribing options, activating patient eligibility for PBM services, supporting prior authorization of non-formulary medication requests, and facilitating Drug Regimen Reviews.

“Without an interface, a nurse is reentering information from the EMR into Enclara’s web or mobile interfaces, by fax or over the phone with our call center to relay that information,” Repec said. “That represents a significant amount of time they could otherwise be devoting to patient care.”

When it comes to interfaces, clients benefit from Enclara’s position as the leading hospice pharmacy provider. The interface team has developed specialized workflow assessments and best practices for each EMR, which simplifies the onboarding process for clients. Enclara also has longstanding relationships with the EMR vendors which is helpful for both resolving service issues and developing enhancements.

Due to the complexity of EMR systems and the variety of ways they are used, no interface is perfect. Each update to an EMR is essentially sent to Enclara’s own systems as a message. Sometimes messages fail because of a problem on the EMR vendor’s end or an issue with Enclara’s system. In other cases, a hospice has changed a setting or process without informing Enclara. Sometimes it’s simple user error, indicating a need for additional training.

Senior Manager of Systems Integration, Tradd Dantzler leads a development team dedicated to troubleshooting issues when they occur. “We do a root cause analysis to determine if a message was invalid because it included incorrect information or if it was a problem on our end where we did receive the correct information, but didn’t load it for whatever reason,” Dantzler said. “At that point, we may work with the EMR vendor, our own development team or the hospice directly to solve the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Dantzler’s team also works on enhancements that can improve interface functionality and user experience. Their work is essential to meeting Enclara’s ambitious goals for helping hospices realize efficiencies through electronic medication profiling. “We’re trying to do whatever we can to make their lives easier so that they don’t have to go through that manual process and step away from their patients,” Dantzler said. “Our current focus is trying to take a macro level look to identify clients with low utilization and figure out how to resolve that. It could be that there’s something in their workflows we need to address through our own programming or an issue we can bring up with our contacts at the EMR.”

At the same time, the entire Enclara interface development team is hard at work on the next generation of the service. Senior Interface Engineer, Adam Orgacki credits the groups Agile project management approach for a continuous stream of improvements. Many of those improvements start out as client requests.

“When a client asks for a customization, we want to analyze that request and see if it might also benefit other clients,” Orgacki said. “If it does, then we’re going to make that change across the board. In that sense, the size and scope of our client base really benefits everyone because the product just keeps getting better.”

In addition to small improvements, the interface team is developing major innovations. Next-level developments include a bidirectional exchange between systems, offering the ultimate flexibility for hospice staff to enter information anywhere and stay in sync between systems. This functionality will further advance the combined use of desktop and mobile applications, giving more freedom to the user.

“Our overall architecture and infrastructure are a strong foundation,” Repec said. “We’re an industry leader in this space and we plan to remain so through continuous improvement.”


How Can Enclara Improve Workflow Efficiency with EMR Integration?


Nobody wants to enter the same information twice. That’s why Enclara supports integration with the industry’s leading hospice EMR systems. Optional EMR integration supports efficiency and care coordination. Want to learn more? Click here to access our “EMR Interface Made Easy One Pager” or contact us today!