Telehealth and Allscripts EHR, new dynamic duo

By Erin McCann
11:18 AM
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A burgeoning number of electronic health record systems are now being integrated with telehealth technology, purporting to make healthcare easily accessible to patients from virtually any location. 

Allscripts announced Wednesday it would jump on the integration bandwagon, as the company unveiled plans for a new telehealth solution, that officials say would expand access to care and enable providers to save time and money. 

The solution will integrate the American Well Online Care telehealth platform into the Allscripts Electronic Health Records (EHR) platform.

Officials say integrating telehealth with EHRs gives patients new ways to access care, whether they are at home or on the road. Healthcare providers will benefit by offering high-quality online voice and video interactions documented via their electronic health record, enhancing care coordination across providers.

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University of South Florida (USF) Health, a partnership of USF's colleges of medicine, nursing, public health and pharmacy as well as USF Physician Group, is planning to use this new offering in a unique relationship with The Villages, the country's largest over-55 residential community, located near Tampa, Fla. USF Health announced a partnership with American Well to make Online Care part of its integrated patient-centered healthcare system for The Villages.

"USF Health's mission is to establish a care model that represents the future of health, a university-community partnership with a specific focus on patient-centric and collaborative care," said Stephen Klasko, MD, chief executive officer of USF Health.  "We are delivering tomorrow's healthcare today by combining the most innovative EHR and telehealth platforms as a significant step toward ensuring continuity and delivering care directly to the homes of the residents of The Villages.”

"Allscripts telehealth solution will help provide convenient, safer and secure access to care and enable that care to be documented in the electronic health record—so that other providers can have up-to-date information. It will also give physicians an opportunity to get paid for telehealth, something that was a hurdle in the past," said Glen Tullman, chief executive officer of Allscripts. "Our open platform architecture enables this integration, which we expect to be available in January, and takes us another step closer to a Connected Community of Health."

[See also: Integrated Informatics helps pharmacies go paperless.]

Allscripts is partnering with American Well, a U.S. telehealth company. The companies will work to integrate American Well's Online Care platform into Allscripts electronic health records platform. The integrated product should reach general availability early next year.

"The momentum behind the telehealth movement is growing at a remarkable pace. As patients demand improved access to care, providers seek alternative delivery methods to deliver care efficiently and effectively as payment models trend away from fee-for-service," said Ido Schoenberg, MD, chairman and CEO of American Well Corporation. Meanwhile, legislative and regulatory barriers are also being removed. Schoenberg added, "Today, forty state Medicaid plans reimburse for telehealth services and 16 states mandate private insurer coverage for telehealth – including four states which have passed such laws since March. Integrating Online Care with Allscripts Electronic Health Records will offer providers a solution to meet these mandates while improving access to quality healthcare."