Joining Forces: The Confluence of EMRs and Cardiac Systems


EMRs help streamline data and create patient satisfaction.

The episodic nature of cardiac care means the cardiology department has long focused on clinical coordination and value-based care. Its IT systems followed suit, giving cardiologists a complete view of a patient’s history, treatments, and follow ups.

With the rest of the healthcare world now taking this path, it’s time for cardiac-care systems to open up, merging data to form a complete view of a patient’s care — cardiac and non-cardiac.

That’s easier said than done, of course. Cardiac systems’ rich patient information can easily be passed to national and state registries but remains largely disconnected from hospital and physician EMRs. Most often, a patient’s cardiac history is placed into the EMR as a PDF containing only a fraction of the information contained in the cardiac system.

Drivers and Benefits

The main driver behind integrating cardiology systems with your organization’s electronic medical record (EMR) is patient outcomes, but several benefits come along for the ride, including data-driven clinical decisions and streamlined workflows.

Patients with co-morbidities are a great example of the potential to improve outcomes with integrated systems. We know that many cardiac patients have other chronic conditions, and some patients have cardiac conditions created by treatments for those diseases – for example cardiac complications as a result of oncology treatments.

In many organizations today, a patient admitted for oncology treatment and later moved to the cardiology department has one chart in the main EMR and a second, separate chart in the cardiology system. This double charting is not only inefficient; it’s potentially fraught with errors and omissions. Clinically, it’s particularly frustrating when the patient, having received a cardiac procedure, is moved back to the inpatient ward where only a “summarized PDF of cardiac information is available to physicians instead of discrete values for vitals, medications and measurements.

Let’s look at the potential benefits of integrating hospital/physician EMRs with cardiac systems:

  1. Robust patient records for more coordinated care and to help optimize patient outcomes
  2. Early detection and intervention strategies to help optimize cardiac health by making EMR data easily accessible to cardiology clinicians
  3. Richer analyses leading to specific patient recommendations from adding cardiac data to EMR data as actionable findings
  4. Streamlined clinician workflow (no need to double chart) and more robust clinician communication
  5. Creation of a value-based care continuum rather than a series of separate episodes

It’s important to note that we’re not advocating the elimination of cardiac systems. From talking with our clients, we understand how essential departmental solutions are to clinical efficiency. They must remain intact and be seamlessly integrated with your organization’s main EMR, breaking down existing silos to encompass full episodes of care for every patient.

If you are attending the New York Medical Imaging Informatics Symposium on September 21, 2015 at the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan, please attend our panel discussion on image enabling the EMR from 1:45pm -2:45 pm. For more information about McKesson Cardiology™, visit our web site.

Leave a Reply