Health IT vendor Cerner has partnered with telehealth company American Well to offer current and future customers an integrated EHR-telehealth solution that delivers a virtual healthcare experience to providers as well as patients.
The two companies made the announcement at Cerner’s annual health conference this week in Kansas City. By integrating the American Well platform with the Cerner EHR, providers will be able to virtually manage patient care beyond the physical walls of their healthcare organizations, according to company executives, who contend the EHR-telehealth integration is one of the industry’s first.
Don Bisbee, senior vice president at Cerner, says the impetus for the collaboration was driven by current trends in healthcare towards lower costs, better access, as well as better connection and convenience for patients.
Bisbee says embedding telehealth capabilities in Cerner’s EHR will enable providers to facilitate remote patient monitoring and video visits regardless of location, while maintaining the same method of documentation and order entry in a “natural workflow” that they are used to.
“Our clients need Cerner to provide certain seamless workflow capabilities inside of our solutions to ensure that it works for them at the enterprise and community level,” he adds. “This is about making access easier, increasing consumer satisfaction, and enabling providers to offer services in the way that their patients want to receive care. It will be a competitive differentiator for providers.”
According to Bisbee, patients will be able to interact with the EHR-telehealth solution through Cerner’s HealtheLife patient engagement portal, which provides access to health information, provider messaging, and interaction with care teams.
“We look forward to a long-term, collaborative relationship of deploying advanced telehealth solutions that add greater value for our joint health system clients along with their patients and providers,” said Ido Schoenberg, chairman and CEO of American Well.
Bisbee acknowledges that limits on reimbursement for telehealth services have historically been barriers to adoption of the technologies by providers. However, he sees the healthcare industry making significant progress in that area.
“There are 30 states that have already adopted parity in payment around a video visit,” Bisbee concludes. “And, if you look at it from the Medicare perspective, they’ve already begun to allow some of the reimbursement around remote patient monitoring and are taking the logical steps.”
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