Last month, the Clinical Conductor Webinar series was hosted by Cerner Strategist Rick Leesmann and our own Software Engineering Manager Jon Sinclair to discuss the integration of EMR and CTMS. This webinar discusses the benefits of both systems, the overlap between the two and benefits for establishing an integration between an EMR and an CTMS. They began the presentation by presenting the key functionalities of both a CTMS and an EMR. An EMR provides ongoing patient recruitment, gives visibility to clinicians, and separates research charges from standard-of-care. Key CTMS functionality includes protocol, site and patient management, detailed reporting, and financial and recruitment tools. The two systems overlap in a few ways, most notable with study build and patient information. An EMR and CTMS have common ground when it comes to study fields, documents, procedures and visits, as well as demographic information and recruitment.
Why is integrating an EMR and a CTMS beneficial for your organization? Jon and Rick presented several benefits, the first being that research tools exist outside of EHR. Between CTMS, IRB systems, EDC’s, and compliance systems, there is no one perfect solution to all your clinical trial needs. Integrating the systems also reduces the amount of duplicative work efforts, since the two solutions will be able to communicate and share information. An integration also provides stronger patient safety by ensuring that a patients EMR is updated when they join a clinical trial or receive a new kind of treatment. Without that information, a hospital who admitted a clinical trial patient wouldn’t know all the specifics of the trial they are participating in. Keeping CTMS and EMR systems in sync will improve overall efficiency of audits and the efficiency of research offices.
Next, Jon and Rick walked listeners through where to begin on their EMR-CTMS integration. A healthcare organization needs to provide a few things for the integration to begin and run smoothly. First, you need to have regular time commitments from IT and app super users. These key members of the team will need to have the most communication with project managers on both the CTMS and EMR sides. The healthcare organization also needs to provide time for test and validation, a few weeks at least, to make sure there is enough time to begin the integration. More time will be necessary if the CTMS and EMR have never integrated before, and time will need to be set aside for testing of future updates by either system.
Finally, when implementing a CTMS-EMR integration, your vendors should provide you with:
Jon and Rick believe that the future of a CTMS-EMR integration should continue to evolve over time. By upgrading features like billing functionality, integrating documents, expanding recruitment functionality, and protocol status expansions in EMR, the integration will continue to provide clinical researchers with the right tools to ensure a successful integration between the two systems.