What To Look For In An EMR Integration API

The right EMR API integration for your healthcare platform will depend on many factors. Discover what features to look for with K1 Solutions.

The amount of time that healthcare providers spend using electronic health records (EHRs), or electronic medical records (EMR), to support the care delivery process is a concern for any healthcare startup. Given the potential effect on patient care and the high costs related to this time, choosing an EHR platform that best meets the needs for your healthcare startup can equate to time savings, and bolster profitability.

For any healthcare platform needing a robust EHR feature, leveraging an API for healthcare charting can serve as a cost-efficient way to build out a complex feature that will be fully functional from the start. There’s no need to invest the time and resources into building a charting feature from scratch, when open charting APs, like K1 Solutions, can be utilized.

However, not all healthcare EMR APIs are created equal. Choosing the right EHR API for your healthcare platform will depend on the features your healthcare providers and patients will need to find success. The best EMR API integration for your business will handle all the complexities of charting.

Features to look for in an EMR API

Your EMR API integration solutions should cover all common functionalities that healthcare providers may need, while also integrating with the other clinical, business, or patient tools that your business requires.

Meets security standards and compliance measures

Before we even dig into specific features, it’s important to discuss the security of any EHR platform or API that you select. An EHR API is going to come into contact with people’s Personal Health Information, so HIPAA and SOC-2 security can’t be overlooked.

Here are some security accolades you may want to look for when vetting an EHR API: 

HIPAA compliance meeting standards for sensitive patient data protection

SOC-2 security indicates the EHR platform has completed reporting on various organizational controls related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality or privacy.

PIPEDA compliance if working with patients residing in Canada

PCI certified if patient financial information will be stored within your platform

Customizable charting note templates

Any healthcare provider familiar with rigid clinical EHRs, can attest to the added-time it takes to complete documentation when the formatting of a charting note does not fit with their specialty or care approach. There is added time needed to fill out or scroll through irrelevant fields. Complex charting notes can also be more time consuming to complete, and this time takes away from patient care.

Customization becomes particularly important if your healthcare business works with multidisciplinary teams – as a charting note designed for a doctor can be widely different from charting note designed for a therapist.

Even within a single discipline, charting notes can be customized depending on the type of service provided. The documentation needed for an initial consultation is likely different from a follow-up session – or perhaps an in-person office visit versus a phone consultation.

Choosing an EMR API that allows for custom charting templates to be built, can be extremely valuable in saving time and costs. There is no “one size fits all” approach to documentation, despite the commonplace utilization of SOAP and ADIME formatted charting notes.

Electronic patient paperwork

Integral to working with patients, is collecting relevant information such as assessments, signed consent or policy forms, billing information. Oftentimes, this information is collected during the patient onboarding process. Having these patient forms triggered to send automatically (ie. post booking an appointment), with the ability to be completed electronically, can help to streamline operations.

Once the paperwork has been completed by a patient, it can be stored and readily accessible to their healthcare provider for review in real-time. This decreases the amount of time a provider needs to spend collecting patient information, and can help inform the care that a patient receives, leading to a better healthcare experience.

Time saving charting features

According to a widespread study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors spend approximately 16 minutes on charting via an EHR for each patient interaction. Of this time, 25% is dedicated to documentation – time that takes away from patient care.

Any EMR API worth integrating with will offer built-in ways to reduce charting time.

Pre-fill capabilities will help to pre-populate chart notes with patient information (ie. copy over content from the previous charting note) which can then be edited by the healthcare provider.

Smart phrases allow for helpful common phrases, or even custom phrases, to be suggested and leveraged while charting

Smart fields will populate certain charting fields with patient information (ie. date of birth) which may have been collected previously, such as during the onboarding process

Ability to share charting notes with patients

Under the 21st Century CURES Act, patients must have digital access to their personal health information, provided by their healthcare practitioner, at no cost. This federal mandate will require all healthcare organizations to adopt the practice. There are a variety of clinical notes that must not be blocked for patient viewing, including consultation notes, discharge summary notes, history & physical notes, imaging narratives, lab report narratives, pathology report narratives, procedure notes, and progress notes.

Legal requirements aside, many healthcare providers find that the ability to share post-session notes or recommendations with patients helps to bolster patient compliance. If this is a best practice in your business, then choose an EHR API that will enable you to quickly (and securely) share a charting note, or even a portion of a charting note, with patients with help to streamline your post-session care process.

Some EHR platforms may even offer a built-in way to create patient care plans or treatment protocols. A care plan can provide a templated way to provide recommendations, patient education, patient goals, and more, which can then be easily personalized and shared with a patient.

Coordinated care across team members

If working in a coordinate care team, shared access to patient documentation is integral to keeping the whole team informed. Real-time access to the most up-to-date patient information, and team recommendations, enables improved patient care.

Modern EHRs aimed at support coordinate care may also offer features like care plans or treatment protocols, which can be created in a templated format and then personalized for each client. This allows for the easy sharing of care recommendations, which can be communicated to other care team members as well as directly with the patient.

Integrated with a comprehensive billing feature

Rendering payment for a service, billing is a critical process that needs to happen alongside a consultation, particularly with insurance-based services. To help streamline these operations, some EMR APIs offer an integrated billing system integrated with their EHR. This can allow providers, office administrators, or billers to export patient data from a charting note directly to a claim form, for easy insurance processing. Charting templates can be created with insurance billing needs in mind, such as including fields for diagnosis codes, ICD codes, patient information (date of birth, insurance details, etc).

Additionally, as part of the patient onboarding process, an integrated EHR and billing platform can mutually work together to ensure that patient payment information is collected electronically, and securely stored. This could extend to credit cards, FSA or HSA cards, or insurance benefits.

Having an EHR integrated with a billing system can help to ensure quicker claim submission, reduced claim errors, and improved methods of collecting patient-owed responsibilities. Collectively, these symbiotic systems reduce the time providers or team members need to spend on billing tasks.

Integrated with other clinical tools

Depending on your patient population, and the needs of your healthcare providers, consider looking for an EHR API that directly offers an integration with other clinical tools. This may include the ability to order e-Labs, prescriptions (e-Rx), or recommend supplements and nutraceuticals to patients.

Having the ability to complete these orders directly through an EHR can improve provider efficiency.

K1 Solutions EHR API for Digital Health Startups

Choosing a charting API that supports the functionality needed by your digital health platform is key. K1 Solutions API is designed for digital health startups that are looking to build their business on top of the industry’s leading technology.

Apart from having a customizable charting feature, K1 Solutions offers their entire feature set through a single EMR API solution. Get access to K1 Solutions robust charting feature alongside billing, scheduling, telehealth, client engagement features, and more. The entire product can be semi- or fully whitelabeled.

Key aspects of K1 Solutions EHR API:

Fully customizable charting templates

Electronic intake forms

Care team support

Care plan templates

Ongoing developer support

E-Labs, E-Rx, and Fullscript integrations