Trying on Telehealth – Can Health Systems Deploy Telehealth Without Full EMR Integration?

When I joined American Well back in June, I went in with a handful of expectations about the new world of healthcare of which I was becoming a part. Truth be told, I made assumptions about the requirements of my would-be clients. One of these assumptions was that complete EMR integration with a telehealth solution was a requirement for any telehealth implementation. Over the past six months, I’ve learned a thing or two, and found that this may not be 100% true.

When you redecorate a room in your home, a key decision is paint color. For many, this choice can be a serious hang-up. Ideally, you get it right the first time, and never have to take any remedial action. Get it wrong, however, and you can plan on moving new furniture around, taking down wall art, repainting, and hoping you get it right the second time around. Or, begrudgingly keep the new paint color, while wondering why you didn’t have the good sense to take your time and make a more informed decision.

I think this is very similar to the process of choosing a telehealth partner. I’ve found that many clients are best served by holding off on a full EMR integration during the initial stages of partnership with a telehealth vendor. In essence, the best thing they can do is test out a partner in a small corner of their organization, and then make a decision about what makes sense for the organization as a whole. In essence, they are best served by painting a small area of their room, giving it some time, and then deciding whether that color is truly right for them.