Health Apps and Patient Portals
The integration of all relevant data and operating software makes it easy to consult billing records, share information with others, manage medical accounts and make possible beneficial patient applications, physician apps and patient portals for self-service. EPIC software can speed up patient payments, co payments, insurance payments and Medicare and Medicaid payments, but is only exposed inside the practice or hospital. That's why it's so important to integrate it with a patient portal, which exposes all those services to patients. Patients who are also engaged tend to use proprietary mHealth apps, consult their EHRs, buy wearable health monitors and become generally more health conscious, which helps medical organizations to improve patient care.
Why It’s Critical to Offer Patients Online “Meaningful Use” Applications
Medicare and Medicaid offer expanded benefits (and maximum payments) to organizations that offer their patients digital access to EMRs, EHRs and patient portals. These benefits are authorized by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which is part of the larger American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  An integrated EPIC patient portal can provide many benefits that constitute “meaningful use” by fostering better patient engagement through digital health records and self-service customer portals. The utility of integrated EPIC software doesn’t stop with customers; the software also provides these benefits to medical organizations and their staffs:
- Providing access to patient records remotely for staff
- Enhancing care
- Triggering alerts when lab tests fall out of normal ranges
- Warning physicians and patients of medication errors or interaction effects
- Scheduling preventative care
- Streamlining treatments
- Reducing the need for duplicate entries of data and patient information
Adopting an EHR system isn’t enough to provide seamless and comprehensive information and care. One study from peer60 found that physicians aren’t satisfied with EHR software vendors despite high adoption rates. Dissatisfaction comes primarily from poor usability and missing capabilities.  Other complaints about EHR software in general include:
- Software often fails to consolidate new information quickly.
- Fragmented connections lead to mistakes in patient charts--especially reports from ambulatory care facilities.
- Many organizations fail to qualify for Medicare/Medicaid HITRUST reimbursement.
- EHRs often require advanced classroom training for authorized staff including harried physicians.
Integration of EPIC software, which has one of the best reputations and one of the highest adoption rates among EHR software providers, resolves many of these complaints by integrating third-party connections securely in the API layer where the information can be validated and entered on each patient’s chart without compromising security or running afoul of HIPAA regulations. Integrated patient portal systems make it easier for physicians to enter information in their regular formats instead of learning how to work with EMRs and EHRs.
Despite concerns over administration, rank-and-file patients seem to appreciate their online experiences when accessing their records--especially with EPIC software and integration with a patient portal. This combination empowers useful and user-friendly customer portals and mHealth apps that patients can access or use to monitor their own health issues. One report found that 75 percent of patients admitted that accessing their own records would improve their understanding of health issues, and 80 percent of patients who access their own EHRs actually use the information to improve their health.  The report also reveals that apps and online portals can increase patient engagement by 60 percent.