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Many Virtual Care Solutions Not Integrated with EHRs

Many virtual care solution do not integrate with electronic health records, according to a survey of healthcare organizations by virtual care software provider Zipnosis

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Source: Getty Images

By Fred Donovan

- Many virtual care solution do not integrate with electronic health records (EHR), according to a survey of healthcare organizations by virtual care software provider Zipnosis.

In fact, close to half of respondents admitted that their virtual care software did not integrate with their EHRs. Only 21.4 percent saw that as a challenge to their on-demand virtual care program.

This contrasted with respondents without on-demand virtual care, 53.8 percent of whom saw integrating with existing technology solutions as a challenge.

Two-thirds of respondents use EPIC for their EHR, with 10 percent using Cerner, and the remainder divided amnog smaller vendors, internally developed systems, and not using any EHR software.

A full 96.4 percent of health systems are planning to expand their virtual care services in the next year. Among those with expansion plans, the most common expansion options were adding modes of care and expanding use cases and specialties for patient-initiated visits.

“We believe health systems are in a unique position to increase adoption of virtual care and expand access to quality health care. As the data in our report indicates, in order to be successful in these efforts, virtual care providers and health systems alike need to focus on improving the patient experience and continuing to educate both the patient and provider,” said Zipnosis CEO Jon Pearce.

“This report shines a light on the fact that virtual care deployed in health systems is a major area of opportunity, with respondents continually indicating planned and expected growth for virtual care in their organizations, from budgets to applications,” he added.

Around 43 percent reported the average time for virtual visits was between 1 and 5 minutes, while the median visit length for in-person primary care visits was nearly 16 minutes, according to National Institutes of Health data cited by Zipnosis.

Respondents said they use virtual care to treat common conditions, with more than 50 percent reporting that they use their virtual care solutions to treat upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, coughing, and pinkeye.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents looking to expand their platforms said they would like to add real-time chat, video, and asynchronous capabilities to their modes of care.

Behavioral health topped the list of areas that respondents would like to see virtual care address, followed by chronic disease detection and management.

The majority of respondents staff their on-demand virtual care service internally, with 12.1 percent saying that their service is staffed by the technology provider or other third-party vendor.

In a recent report, Frost & Sullivan predicted that mobile health and wearables – two technologies used in virtual care – would be healthcare game changes this year.

The market research firm forecasted that the market for digital health technologies that provide out-of-hospital care will total $25 billion, growing by 30 percent this year. These technologies include remote patient monitoring devices, telehealth and mHealth platforms, and personal emergency response systems.

Frost & Sullivan expects the global healthcare market to exceed $1.96 trillion by the end of this year. Up to 15 percent of healthcare spending is expected to be directed toward value-based care concepts. This will cause a surge in the number of risk-sharing contracts between providers and drug and device makers, driving business value for providers.      

Other technologies that are expected to be healthcare game changers this year are artificial intelligence and big data analytics.

The market research firm predicts that the market for healthcare IT applications using artificial intelligence will reach $1.7 billion by the end of 2019, growing at a 68.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2022.

Frost & Sullivan expects the healthcare big data analytics market to reach $68 billion by next year as more specialty products are used by providers.

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