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Open platform and innovation program allow EHR to integrate with third-party solutions

by Banner Health

Published on 6/22/2020

In a quickly changing digital landscape, health care facility leaders continuously look for a wide array of products to offer the best care for patients while improving the daily workflows of their clinicians and staff. At Banner Health, leaders utilize an open-access program that allows the health system to integrate either their own applications or third-party applications within Cerner Millennium®.

Currently, Banner has more than two dozen other applications integrated into the electronic health record (EHR), including Salesforce, LifeLink, Buoy and others. These integrations allow the health system to help improve their digital ecosystem and lead to a better experience for both the consumer and care provider.

“Our leadership team looks at the continuum of care, and there’s a lot of touchpoints. And each touchpoint needs to have connections with different aspects of the EHR,” said Elevsis Delgadillo, senior digital business director, Banner. “Cerner has and continues to develop new access points to allow other innovative health care software solutions to integrate with the EHR. Everyone benefits from that.”

Scheduling online, anytime

In a time when convenience and care quality matter more to consumers than before, one solution, called Kyruus, allows patients to book appointments directly with their providers, without the need to call the health system.

“We use the example of a parent that’s up at night with their sick child,” said Heather Francis, clinical integration strategist program director, Banner. “Typically, if you needed to call and schedule that appointment, you’d have to wake up at 8:00 a.m. and try to be the first person to call. With online scheduling, you can do that in the middle of the night.”

Brock Bassetti, customer strategist and design director at Banner, says this new functionality expanded their scheduling services.

“More than one-third of our appointments are scheduled after hours. Whether it be weekends or after a time our schedulers are off the clock — patients can get in and schedule appointments on their time.”

Not only can patients see the near-real-time appointment availability, but they can become better informed on who they are seeing through use of Kyruus’ provider search capability. Banner Health invested in a robust buildout of online provider profiles allowing the consumer to learn more about their potential provider, leading to more established comfort and trust prior to their first appointment.

“When I searched for a doctor, I was looking for specific qualifications,” said Bassetti. “Once I found the right doctor, I was able to quickly schedule an appointment without having to talk to a person.”

Before implementation, some providers had anxieties that the system wouldn’t work or might significantly impact their daily schedules. After alleviating concerns and seeing positive results from their colleagues, more providers wanted to see the functionality extended to their practices.

“You know you’ve turned the corner when you’re not asking them to go live, but when they’re reaching out to you and saying, ‘When can we go live?’” said Francis.

Just one username, one password

Banner and Cerner also worked together to integrate Okta, to establish a digital front door by consolidating multiple usernames and passwords into one electronic identity for each patient. As this work expands, it will allow patients to log in to many of Banner’s applications and experiences utilizing one Banner account. Eliminating the challenge of remembering multiple logins, aligns to Banner’s mission: making healthcare easier, so life can be better.

“Before, our patients had a fragmented patient experience, which was impersonal at best. Instead of having to click through multiple applications, now we can consolidate that down into a single digital access point,” said Matthew Peterson, IT senior product owner, Banner.

Banner currently has more than a dozen experiences that require a username and password. Banner leaders hope to scale the use of the digital front door to integrate with additional services including Banner Aetna — a joint venture with their insurance division — Apple Health and telehealth.

“Within six or seven months, we could federate many of these experiences into the digital front door, which will provide our patients with an intuitive experience while protecting their data,” said Peterson. “The work we did with Cerner the last couple of years put us in a position to standardize integrations into our identity provider as well as scale at a rapid pace.”

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.