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Key Technologies for Medical Practices

For new and established healthcare practices, adopting the right technologies can supplement and streamline patient care while creating opportunities for cost-cutting. In today’s medical landscape, most information is stored in the cloud, which requires less computing power while delivering more operational efficiency than ever before. Practice managers embracing technology stand to significantly improve patient outcomes, revenue and enjoy potential cost savings by leveraging their secure platforms.

This blog post details three key technologies essential for new and existing medical practices to operate competitively today while properly navigating HIPAA compliance rules to prevent these technologies from becoming future liabilities.

Electronic Health Records

Electronic Health Record, or EHR, refers to a digital version of a patient’s medical history that the healthcare provider maintains. A patient’s EHR contains information relevant to a patient’s care, such as demographics, vital signs, medications, progress notes, relevant diagnosis codes identifying chronic problems to monitor, immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports. 

One significant advantage over paper records is that EHRs allow other care-related activities, such as medication management and care coordination, to be conducted more timely and accurately. Comprehensive patient information is immediately accessible, so evidence-based decisions and quality management can be carried out more proficiently. This technology also aids decision-making by allowing medical practitioners to compare data, reducing the likelihood of medical errors.

EHRs streamline the practitioner’s workflow and allow them to treat patients more effectively and expediently. The “at your fingertips” information, that is able to be accessed from past medical encounters is invaluable. When patients receive medical care tailored specifically to their condition(s), history, and other supporting information, they feel confident that the provider is acting in their best interest. The cost efficiencies from using an efficient, easy-to-use system will pay dividends for years in helping you manage the cost structure of the Practice.

Patient Portal

A Patient Portal is a secured location on the practice website or through their EHR, offered by a healthcare provider where patients and medical practitioners can communicate in written form to address different topics, information, and concerns that arise during the condition-management process. This type of communication can be billable, but only some conversations or exchanges can be charged. Regardless, it is a valuable patient resource and a practical way for medical practitioners to convey information.

Through a Patient Portal, patients can schedule non-urgent appointments, refill prescriptions, make payments, and pose questions or concerns they’d like addressed by a medical professional. Patient Portals are also sometimes referred to as PHR or Personal Health Records because they allow patients to view and access their medical information, much like an EHR. 

Practice’s need to stay vigilant about frivolous usage of the portal by the patient due to their convenience and ease of use. However, when the conversation stays focused and productive, it can be very useful for communicating valuable information. Many practices are beginning to set fees for use of the portal related to care in lieu of an appointment.

It’s important to emphasize to patients that the Patient Portal does not exist to address urgent health-related issues and is no replacement for calling the office of their respective medical practice. Patient Portal use is best for supplemental communication that facilitates transparency and streamlines the treatment process. 

Many EHR vendors offer patient portals as part of their comprehensive EHR solutions, and these portals are typically integrated seamlessly with the rest of the EHR system. Healthcare organizations can customize and configure patient portals to meet their needs and preferences, ensuring a user-friendly and personalized patient experience.


Telehealth is a service that allows healthcare providers to remotely manage patients' conditions through audio and visual technology. Commonly used to allow people in rural or underserved areas access to medical care without needing to leave their homes, its use became widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth has quickly become a versatile and valuable service, allowing patients convenient and immediate access to medical care, especially for those patients that don’t ambulate well. 

Telehealth allows patients and medical professionals to interact through approved electronic methodologies. Information and services, including medical education, remote patient monitoring, and patient consultation, can be made available remotely through such communication. 

Not only does this allow patients to receive care with greater immediacy, but it also strengthens the patient-medical professional relationship by providing treatment on a more proactive basis. It also lets patients access medical care much more efficiently, allowing medical professionals to manage the conditions of these patients more timely.

Providers can use this technology in various applications, from prescription drug management to communicating and sending lab tests or radiology results. It becomes most helpful in relation to services that benefit the most from a remote approach. For instance, mental health treatment such as therapy or counseling conducted remotely provides patients better access to the help they need, granting therapists and other mental health specialists a more flexible way to schedule or conduct appointments.

From a financial perspective, Telehealth can offer numerous avenues to cut costs. Namely, it can decrease the likelihood of prescription drug misuse on the patients’ end, unnecessary emergency department visits, and prolonged hospitalizations. Eliminating these problems ensures better patient care while reducing overall spending on a constrained healthcare system. Considering the variety of remote services a practice could offer, Telehealth also allows medical practices to diversify their revenue streams by opening up an ever-increasing number of new billable services.

This being understood, Telehealth isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; there are many limitations to how comprehensive remote care can be depending on the patient's required services. For instance, technology does not always work as intended, and Telehealth services can’t facilitate an in-person physical examination. Therefore, it’s important to remember Telehealth is best used to supplement in-person patient visits. 

HIPAA Compliance, Liability, and Cybersecurity

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, dictates that healthcare providers handle confidential patient health information privately and responsibly. Therefore, all Telehealth services and other forms of patient communication must be conducted in a manner that complies with current HIPAA guidelines to avoid legal liability and protect patients' private information.

Most services designed specifically with Telehealth in mind include HIPAA compliance guidelines already in place to ensure patient privacy is respected. Compliance software may exist to ensure proper information treatment can be enforced when human error prevails, but it’s still important for healthcare professionals to regulate themselves and treat patient information with confidentiality.

Before offering Telehealth services, it’s crucial to ensure your business insurance provider covers those services. Sometimes, Telehealth services are protected under liability insurance, but depending on specifics, a medical practice may need supplemental coverage. If you plan on offering Telehealth services in more than one state, you must confirm that your liability and malpractice insurance policy as well as your medical license covers those locations. 

Digital storage of crucial personal information also means hackers and malware could attempt to seize it. Unfortunately, the comprehensive nature of Electronic Health Records (EHR) means they’re targeted specifically. It is essential to be educated on what your practice should do to better protect sensitive patient information and ensure vital and appropriate records don’t fall into the wrong hands.


As technology like EHRs, Patient Portals, and Telehealth provide expansive opportunities for more comprehensive patient care with new services to bill and costs to cut, it is crucial to remember their limitations. Offering these services can be invaluable for a medical practice operating in a highly competitive and ever-changing business environment. Still, like any technology, these should be considered tools first and foremost. While these technologies open up new billing opportunities, these platforms aim to create operational efficiencies so you can spend more time on patient care.

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