Understanding Clinical Integration


Understanding Clinical Integration

Patients receive care across various settings within the healthcare sector. The data comes from numerous sources, from hospitals to clinics and in-home healthcare. Clinical integration seeks to consolidate these different data sources in one convenient place, to which all healthcare providers within the network will have access.

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the purpose of clinical integration is to coordinate the care of patients across various settings, providers, times, and conditions. This ensures that the care provided can be as effective, safe, timely, efficient, equitable, and patient-focused as possible. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2011, all healthcare practices must participate in efforts designed to improve clinical coordination.

In this article, we share more about clinical integration and some of the benefits you can expect to enjoy.

What Is Clinical Integration?

It is important to remember that healthcare providers do not practice in isolation. Although you may run your clinic or operate within a specific niche, you are not the only provider your patients see.

Integrated clinical services allow for meaningful connections and collaboration opportunities amongst healthcare providers. A provider operating independently has limited access to peer benchmarking and various tools and best practices. Therefore, integration is necessary for the benefit of both patients and providers.

Some of the different settings in which a patient can receive treatment include:

  • Inpatient care in a clinical setting
  • Outpatient care for follow-up consultations and treatments
  • Home healthcare
  • Palliative or hospice care
  • Preventative care for disease management
  • Therapy services
  • Behavioral healthcare, especially as it relates to mental illnesses
  • Skilled nursing services
  • Remote health monitoring services

Key Components of Clinical Integration

As we slowly exit the COVID-19 pandemic, one permanent effect on the healthcare industry is patients’ demand for remote health services. Without a clinically integrated network, the information you can access may not paint the most comprehensive picture of your patient’s health condition. In turn, the lack of such a picture can negatively affect clinical decision-making.

With the right technology, clinical integration can be developed and implemented across various settings. Some key components you will need to have in place for integration in healthcare include:

  • A fit-for-purpose software that’s user-friendly and allows access to all providers
  • Coordination and collaboration between different providers, especially when it comes to the management of complex or chronic diseases
  • Ongoing communication between all providers in the network
  • Predictive analytics
  • An efficient data collection and management system

Benefits of Clinical Integration

Did you know that patients reported better overall outcomes across integrated care settings than in traditional settings? Below are just some of the benefits you can expect to reap when you get on board with clinical integration:

Better Collaboration Amongst Physicians

You may not have the chance to collaborate with other physicians in your day-to-day work. When you belong to a clinically integrated network, you will have access to tools, benchmarking standards, and best practices you may not have had before. Some other benefits you may experience include group purchases, which allow you to procure the supplies you need at a discounted price.

When you belong to a group of peers, knowledge, insights, and resources can be pooled together, especially during times of crisis.

Enable Well-Informed Decision Making

In the days of paper records, obtaining the information you needed from other healthcare providers your patient was seeing was challenging. It could take time for your request to go through, and your case could also be refused. Without a comprehensive picture of your patient’s other health conditions, you may not be able to fully justify the medical decision you are making on their behalf.

With a clinically integrated network, you will have instant access to all your patients’ records via an electronic database, allowing you to make decisions more quickly and justifiably.

Minimize Waiting Times and Improve the Patient Experience

When you belong to a clinical network in your region, patients will have more options for accessing the needed services. With chatbots and similar technologies, patients can quickly enter their diagnosis and location and reach available healthcare providers. This minimizes the waiting time for each patient and allows providers to answer general queries more efficiently.

It also ensures that each healthcare practice does not get overrun with more patients than they can see. The overall result is a better patient experience and higher satisfaction rates.

Allow for Cost Savings While Giving Patients More Options

You can reduce expenses within a successful, clinically integrated network. For instance, instead of a prolonged hospital stay, a patient can be given the go-ahead to return home earlier due to the availability of outpatient services and home healthcare.

While it’s true that both these services can exist outside of an integrated network, simply identifying and locating these services can be hard work. It may even fall on the patient’s shoulders to engage these services, without which they would have to incur a higher cost. Within an integrated healthcare network, providers can quickly provide patients with more options for their recovery, allowing them to save on costs.

Increase Efficiency Across Healthcare Providers

On top of the benefits that your patients can enjoy, you will also find that processes within your healthcare practice become more efficient. You should ideally integrate your data management system with the clinical network that all your partner providers can access.

A comprehensive picture of your patient’s health can easily compare documented data against established procedures to check on factors such as quality improvement. This will allow you to provide better quality care and improve cost management in the long run.

Aid in Predictive Diagnoses and Preventative Healthcare

Because you can access all the data you need through one convenient dashboard, it’s easy for healthcare providers to determine the most successful course of treatment for a specific disease. This will allow patients to be treated much quicker by eliminating a lengthy trial and error process in most cases.

In addition, this data can also allow healthcare providers to determine if there is a risk factor for some conditions. As such, patients at higher risk can be placed on a timely preventative healthcare plan, improving their prognosis and lowering their risk of eventually developing the disease or experiencing severe symptoms.

Let Vicert Assist You with Implementing Clinical Integration

Are you looking to get started with clinical integration in your healthcare practice? If so, let our team at Vicert develop and implement a solution that will suit your needs. Regardless of your specific niche, our clinical decision support systems can help you deliver a higher quality of care by making better medical decisions for your patients. Our customized health solutions are engineered by a passionate team with the relevant expertise in solving industry-specific problems.

Our wide range of services include health cloud services, remote patient monitoring, and more. When you first get in touch with us, we take the time to conduct an initial consultation, where we seek to understand the specific needs and concerns of your practice. From there, we will devise the most suitable approach and implement the corresponding digital health solution for you.