All roads lead to the EHR

EHR, EMR, medical record

EHR, EMR, medical record

Point-of-care in its traditional sense has evolved, expanding the opportunities for healthcare companies to engage with physicians and patients at key moments in the care journey. While the avenues of care delivery keep growing with new technologies and include care away from the traditional office setting like telehealth, a patient’s electronic health record remains the backbone of that care – no matter how it’s delivered.

From a patient perspective, the telehealth experience feels mostly efficient and convenient with not much more to do than communicate through a single platform with a provider. But from the provider point of view, the experience can be far more complex. Physicians must take into consideration what portal they need to use, their video technology, the EHR integration, and correct coding among other concerns, all while being fully present and communicating with a patient. Given everything a physician must juggle during a patient encounter, it is important to incorporate any relevant messaging related to the patient’s treatment directly into their workflow on the platform they are using most – the EHR. Even with all the new entrants to the care delivery arena, the one platform that remains a constant, where all care delivery information must end up — whether in the office or at home — is the EHR.

Integrating into the POC experience

As the healthcare industry embraces the digital transformation more, we are seeing healthcare companies integrating into existing EHR platforms from a technology, marketing, and data perspective. The EHR is not only the single point that reminds the provider of everything they need to do with a patient, it is also the only platform where information is guaranteed to be captured at the point-of-care. Understanding that each interaction between patient and provider is an opportunity to communicate relevant information that can have an impact on healthcare outcomes, the EHR is a crucial place where companies need to be for visibility and reach to both the patient and provider.

“Tele” movement unlocks new engagement opportunities

Physicians welcome information that will support them in treating their patients, but they want involvement within their workflow, so their experience is seamless. While the telehealth movement is overall positive in terms of increasing access to care for patients, it also increases the number of platforms and technologies physicians need to interact with on a regular basis. For example, with the onset of Covid, new protocols were put in place to allow third parties to connect to the EHR and use the platform for a variety of “tele” experiences. With new data elements flowing into and out of the EHR, there are engagement opportunities that weren’t available before. However, the increased integrations can pose a burden for physicians if not leveraged correctly by healthcare and life science companies looking to engage them.

Branded EHR Integration

Looking at the EHR from a life sciences perspective, historically, the pharma industry was thought to be left out of the EHR data space, due to stringent promotional regulations and worries about privacy. However, increased adoption by physicians through meaningful use initiatives has created opportunity in two areas: positioning branded and unbranded messaging within the EHR system, and the use of EHR-related real-world evidence (RWE) across the patient and physician spectrum for improved clinical support.

Brands are integrating and communicating at the POC to help a provider within the workflow. For example, pharma can deliver very pointed information from an access perspective. The ability to share relevant and timely information with a patient is now much easier for the provider during a real-time interaction whether in-person or virtual. This EHR integration has allowed for greater accessibility and affordability of prescription drugs. As more states push for greater price transparency, providers can now see the prescription pricing immediately during a patient encounter. The communication platform within the EHR can offer a financial benefit to help increase the affordability of a prescription drug, increasing the chances that it will ultimately be filled. New capabilities and virtual components built into an EHR allow a provider to have a real-time dialogue with a brand to get prescription support while a patient is live in-office or via remote technology. The push and pull of new data elements and real-world data (RWD) capabilities in EHRs allow for highly targeted messaging for providers and improved patient care.

Real-World Data for improved clinical support 

The use of EHR-related RWD and real-world evidence (RWE) across the patient and physician spectrum can improve clinical support. This is critical information that can help guide treatment options. For example, the RWE focus in EHRs allows pharmaceutical and life sciences marketers to communicate to a physician throughout a product life cycle — from clinical trial recruitment to workflow interventions. This helps get the right information delivered to the right patient at the right time. Huge opportunities lie in leveraging patient data from physician records to deliver information directly to physicians to support the prescribing process. For example, a promotion or clinical message is delivered to the doctor during the patient interaction to facilitate discussion on patient access. This messaging can be highly specific based on a patient’s insurance down to the prescription co-pay to help increase price transparency and affordability. When the prescription is written, on the premise of real-world evidence, an alert is generated on his or her EHR to onboard a patient to a support program such a text-based or phone support to increase the odds of adherence and better outcomes.

There are multiple ways that companies can be involved in at point-of-care and it’s imperative to have a clear EHR strategy to capitalize on this channel opportunity as part of a fully integrated communications plan.

Photo: invincible_bulldog, Getty Images