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Revisiting Electronic Health Record Integration Predictions One Year Later: Is the EHR Enough?

Two clinicians talk while referencing data on a smartphone

Around this time last year, HIMSS Media released a podcast titled, “Evolution – the Limitations and Innovations of EHRs.”1 In this piece, Mutaz Shegewi, research director, provider IT transformation strategies at IDC Health Insights, discusses innovations leading the evolution of EHRs, and shares his predictions for the future of electronic health record integrations and enhancements.

One year later, our team revisited this conversation and we all agree: it holds up. More importantly, it highlights the importance of effective communication strategies that benefit both the patient and the clinician. There are many ways clinical communication solutions can interoperate with the EHR to do this. Here are our top take-aways:


1. A Holistic Patient View Requires Multi-Faceted Electronic Health Record Integration

“We know that it’s important to be able to have data from different systems be able to interoperate to produce a more longitudinal view of patients — and EHRs are still coming up to standards and speed with this new requirement.” – Mutaz Shegewi1

Clinicians spend much of their shifts on administrative tasks outside direct patient care.2 Every second they spend navigating between applications and searching for all the patient information they need to deliver care is one too many.

The EHR is an essential source of truth for a wide variety of information — but it’s not a panacea. Clinical communication solutions allow clinicians to take the rich information from the EHR, coupled with their live assessment, and collaborate in their everyday workflows.

Integrating a unified clinical care communication solution like the Voalte platform can help connect your teams to the information they need,3 even when they can’t access the EHR.4 The Voalte platform integrates seamlessly with leading EHRs5 like Epic to make it easier for teams to access and share timely information across multidisciplinary teams.


2. It’s Time to Break Down Healthcare Data Siloes and Connect More Teams

“We’re still seeing EHRs being used as a system of record… when the EHR, ideally, should be a system or platform for engagement.” Mutaz Shegewi1

While the earliest iterations of EHRs focused largely on clinical documentation, today we expect these systems to do much more. Rather than relying on patches and upgrades to add more data to the EHR, many hospitals opt to integrate their electronic health records with other systems already working within their ecosystems — allowing their teams to access more data in fewer steps.

One example comes into play at the end of a patient’s stay. The discharge process involves clinical teams, admitting, environmental services, transport and more. Not all of these team members are common EHR users. With cross-functional mobile communications, Voalte Mobile helped one customer see a decrease in time to discharge.6


3. Take a Patient- (and Staff)-Centric Approach

“We’re now starting to see a lot of emphasis on the employe’s experience and wanting to make things easier for them — because they spend most of their working life using these systems and applications. So it’s important to take into consideration not just the patient, but also the physicians, clinicians and end-users.” Mutaz Shegewi1

Patient-centric care is at the heart of what clinicians do — but it takes staff-centric support to help them deliver it. While many EHRs now offer improvements like mobile access to free up clinicians from workstations, these fixes may not be enough for true clinical workflow optimization.

For example, EHRs alone may not reach all members of the care team or support urgent messages like codes. Voalte Mobile enhances the power of the EHR by acting as a conduit for communication — supporting these urgent messages and delivering them to a wider variety of team members.5 And, in the case of EHR downtime, it keeps the lines of communication open to help avoid potentially dangerous delays.4


 4. Support Value-Based Initiatives

“We’ve seen a lot of emphasis on the ability to attest to various incentive programs, to be better prepared for value-based reimbursement, and also optimization for value-based reimbursement at the EHR — whether it’s through reporting modules, dashboards, being able to do more prospective analytics and predictive analytics, and also to drive up revenue integrity.” Mutaz Shegewi1

EHRs offer a wealth of information used to inform quality metrics, incentives and reimbursement programs. When this is combined with data from clinical care communication solutions, the picture can become even clearer.

For example, mobile communication volume and team adoption reports may help hospitals find opportunities for clinical workflow optimization where delays may be prevalent today. When paired with data from the EHR and other sources across the organization, this information can help care teams identify opportunities for improvement and move the needle where it’s needed most.


Our Prediction: The Future of Electronic Health Integration is Looking Bright

EHRs have improved healthcare delivery in many ways — and there are surely many improvements yet to come. The more easily they can interoperate with other data sources across healthcare systems, the more they will support care teams in sharing the right information with the right person at the right time.

Let’s start today. By enhancing your electronic health record integration with a unified clinical communication solution like the Voalte platform, you can extend its power even farther across your organization. Reach out to your Baxter partner  to see what it could mean for you.



  1. “Evolution – the Limitations and Innovations of EHRs.” HIMSSCast. HealthareITNews. November 18, 2022,
  2. How much time do nurses have for patients? A longitudinal study quantifying hospital nurses’ patterns of task time distribution and interactions with health professionals. Westbrook et al. BMC Health Services Research2011, 11:319.
  3. CL-000329
  4. CL-000328
  5. CL-000322