Data compatibility and interoperability must exist between EHRs and other software systems in the organization as well as other EHRs within state and regional health information exchanges. This is one of the best ways to improve patient care. If patient records aren’t available or data that comes in is not easy to understand and use, the patient won’t be able to receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Similarly, if there are gaps in EHR connectivity or the computer network is poorly configured and clinicians cannot have instant access to the EHR, they’ll resort to using paper charts, faxes and telephone calls. This will complicate the delivery of care – from patient examination to follow-up.
Unfortunately, data compatibility problems are usually more pronounced when treating new patients or while handling emergency cases. They slow down the physician and make it difficult to create effective treatment plans.
To ensure excellent EHR performance, continuous compatibility testing must be done. This ensures compatibility with all devices and databases in the organization’s network and other health information exchanges. Consequently, there are no poorly delivered care or workflow bottlenecks.
So, what are the types of compatibility tests you should conduct in your healthcare organization?
Database Compatibility Testing
An EHR generates a huge volume of data on each patient. To maintain uninterrupted data flow between the EHR and other connected systems, it’s essential to carry out full database compatibility testing. The focus of the test is to improve consistency in performance, reliability and speed during the exchange of information with the database. Some of the processes that must be examined for compatibility include:
- Data entry
- Data formatting
- Data extraction
- Data migration
- Data reporting
If there are major issues discovered during database testing, then it may be necessary to consult an EHR solution provider like HEF Solutions, create custom applications or migrate to a more robust EHR system.
Device Compatibility Testing
Seamless device connectivity is an important aspect of data compatibility. In large healthcare organizations, the EHR needs to connect with specialized applications like the laboratory information system. While in smaller practices, the EHR will need to connect directly to the medical instruments used by the physician and lab techs. Some of the devices that the EHR must connect with include:
- Tablets and smartphones: iOS, Android, and Blackberry
- Medical imaging machines: MRI, CT, ECG, PET, x-ray and ultrasound
- Internet of things (IoT) devices: pressure cuffs, scales, smart thermometers
Compatibility testing ensures that the connection between each device and the EHR is seamless so that clinicians can gain access to all the information about a patient from a single portal.
Results to Expect from Compatibility Testing
Compatibility testing can eliminate lagging, poor connectivity, inaccurate interpretation of data and poor coordination of patient care. It can also eliminate the need to spend extra hours creating comprehensive patient records.
Compatibility testing works best before the system is deployed because it helps fix any interoperability issues before they occur. However, if the EHR system is already in place, testing helps locate bottlenecks in the system so they can be removed. On-going testing also helps achieve higher standards of care delivery.
For more information about compatibility testing for EHRs, please contact HEF Solutions today.