EHR & CRM Together: Best of both worlds Improving Patient Engagement!


Earlier this year, I discussed whether an off-the-shelf integration to an EHR or EMR solution was right for you? But what about the integration used for the patient experience with EHR and EMR systems? EHR systems are designed for providers to capture patient information, not engage patients. Patient Engagement and the Promise of Better Outcomes details the importance of engaged patients to have better health outcomes with an increased likeliness to take preventative measures like having regular health checkups, screenings, and immunizations. Hence, the need for a CRM solution.

Traditionally the connection with linking patients in a CRM and an EHR has been a challenge. Integration between the two is painful, and many EHRs provide their offerings with no incentive to improve interoperability. Often this kind of integration is manual data entry or Hospital IT managed data feed.

Not any longer. Many CRM platforms are taking action by improving their sales engagement usability to a new level with a healthcare-specific model that works across providers, payers, biotech, pharmaceuticals, and machine device companies. In particular, we will highlight the Salesforce Health Cloud, including the benefits, personalized patient and member experiences, simplified access to care, and streamlined operations. Before we break down Salesforce Health Cloud, I want to state other CRM options align with EHR and EMR; contact our Application Development team for a complete detailed list of Healthcare CRM tools. 

What is Salesforce Health Cloud?

Salesforce Health Cloud is the all-encompassing patient engagement software that provides the effective CRM features of Salesforce with the secured communication, patient registration, member enrollment, scheduling, reminders, and other features needed for health care. It is focused on unifying patient data with effective communication across all channels and devices to enhance the patient experience. But the real platform maturation is behind the scenes. In 2019 Salesforce acquired MuleSoft, an API Management platform; they’ve used that platform to create an API-based connection between the CRM and EHR. With this integration, Salesforce Health Cloud care teams can easily access both clinical and non-clinical patient and member data, including:

  • Patient Health Conditions
  • Medications/ Perscrptiosn
  • Appointment History
  • Patient Communication Preferences
  • Data from EHRs Systems

Salesforce Health Cloud has continued to advance this with the addition of the IDA (Intelligent Document Automation) feature in Feb 2021. The healthcare industry relies heavily on legacy systems, including paper documents, faxing, patient records, and other confidential documents. The IDA feature simplifies traditional operational challenges due to manual entry plus sending and receiving documents across multiple channels. IDA for Health Cloud streamlines this process for organizations to receive, process, and track all patient and member forms in one place (plus no toggling between screens or documents).

Why is the CRM portion of this Solution so crucial?

The CRM is about connectivity, ease of use, and making information available to patients, members, and health care teams. Whether a provider or a payer, the benefits of combining a CRM with EHR systems provide seamless workflows. This integration allows the continued use of EHR to addresses pain points in a flexible platform with a 360-degree view of patient data. The CRM addition provides the benefits of connectivity, customized care plans, access to caregiver networks, 24/7 visibility, personalized member services with communication preferences, simplified patient engagement, and automated real-time communication on any device.

The CRM lets payers and providers connect and share information across system boundaries, enabling a centralized integration point. Providing end-to-end monitoring, access control, data accuracy, and creating a centralized API. Salesforce Health Cloud allows for advanced workflow management and automated processes, plus a payer-specific model with common data objects that health plans use to manage claims payments.

Now we understand the benefits, how does Salesforce Health Cloud Work with EHRs?

Health Cloud allows EHR data to be exhibited within the CRM. Accessing clinical data from EHR within Health Cloud provides a 360-degree view of the patient and healthcare teams’ interactions. The end-user process appears seamless, but there is an extensive amount of technical integration:

  • Clinical data is stored within Health Cloud; Salesforce provides a product called “Salesforce Shield” to encrypt data and files for added security to address HIPAA and HiTech regulations.
  • Field-level security and audit logging/revision tracking granular controls protecting who views what data
  • Built-in data model for EHR that follows the HL7 FHIR specifications. 
  • Supports majority FHIR objects and continually expanding.
  • FHIR standard for receiving and loading data
  • Older HL7 formats/versions, an HL7 broker or enterprise service bus may be used to translate and load HL7 data

EHR data in Health Cloud is always available for viewing, but the real power comes with combining your EHR data with your outreach program data and general Interaction data. Having access to all of this data in one place will improve patient outcomes by creating care-specific communication workflows.

AIM Consulting is a trusted advisor for EMR, EHR, RIS, and Healthcare Providers – building devices to generate, collect, analyze, and transmit data – creating a fully connected infrastructure of health systems and services. Our team of experts is available to discuss Emergent Telehealth systems, Cures Act, FHIR, and projects aligned to MedTech & IoMT. We look forward to hearing more about your organization’s needs and how our team can support your internal teams.

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