Comparing Secure-Mail to EMRs and patient portals

We are often asked how the Brightsquid Medical-grade MessagingPlatform stands above patient portals and EMRs. The big reason people ask is because Brightsquid is in a new, unfamiliar category of software called “Clinical Care Coordination”. Whereas portals and EMRs were built to manage resources and information inside clinic walls, Clinical Care Coordination software enables EMR and portal agnostic communication between all clinics and practitioners, and includes patients. We unite the entire circle of care. The salient question to ask is – How well does your EMR/Portal manage communications outside of medical offices? Typically this functionality is non-existent in EMRs and Portals and left to fax and phone. the challenge is that fax and phone can’t unify the team with one single contact, they aren’t built to enable critical care collaboration.  

EMRs don’t share well with others

As of now most electronic medical record (EMR) systems in Canada are 10-15 years old and represent a technology that was meant to be a digital mirror of paper records. Typically, these systems include scheduling, billing and patient record management capabilities. Within the four walls of a healthcare facility, these software systems do a good job providing managed access to a version of patient medical records. Through no fault of their own, too often the versions EMRs hold are incomplete. Since EMRs generate and aggregate patient healthcare information, one would assume secure communications management to be a natural extension of EMR capabilities. However, enabling and managing the secure transmission of protected patient information across disparate clinical systems is difficult; it requires skillsets quite unique from those focused on single facility scheduling, billing, and records management. EMRs were never designed to communicate patient information outside of the clinic. This is the need that Brightsquid addresses. We’ve spent more than half a decade honing the ability to safely and easily communicate protected information between practitioners, and between practitioners and patients. Brightsquid’s depth of expertise in secure communications technologies combined with a breadth of compliance and regulatory management capabilities across multiple jurisdictions makes us uniquely suited to this task. We developed Secure-Mail to replace the phone and fax, enabling modern Medical offices to quickly convey and access large amounts of information in a secure, traceable, and auditable manner. The result is that practices using Secure-Mail report significant improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of coordinating patient care through reductions in phone conversations, “phone tag”, fax management, and traditional snail mail.  

Patient Portals are myopic

Patient portals are an EMR extension, and suffer from some of the same issues as EMRs. The portal’s biggest gap is rooted in the fact that patient information is spread across multiple primary and acute healthcare facilities and clinical systems. Consequently, a single portal is unlikely to house the patient’s complete healthcare record, providing only limited access to partial records of a patient’s hospital visits, lab reports, diagnostic imaging reports, and medication history. Furthermore, while portals provide patients the ability to review some of their healthcare record, their level of access, in some instances, may provide access to too little information, while in other instances provide access to information meant for the physician’s reference alone. This can ultimately result in unexpected anxiety for patient and physician alike. Finally, patients can find portal interactions to be complicated and difficult to navigate with insufficient direction or explanation. In contrast, the Brightsquid system looks and acts like email, and is extremely easy for the patient, physician and office staff to understand and use. Physicians and their staff determine which information is and isn’t sent to practitioners and patients, and don’t need to worry about inadvertent patient access to too much or too little information.  

Let healthcare information flow securely

Brightsquid systems make it easy for healthcare practitioners to securely request and send patient information across facilities and clinical systems, and consequently share this information with patients. This results in EMR vendors focusing their attention on continued optimization of facility patient record management, while Brightsquid enables ubiquitous, convenient, and compliant healthcare communications. We look forward to a time when leading EMRs integrate with Secure-Mail to enhance the patient management experience by creating a consolidated channel for the flow of protected information. Evidence shows that by easily sharing patient data from the source, such an integration can and will accelerate care and improve the effectiveness of the entire care team. The grand result is that healthcare system costs can actually go down while outcomes get better. Written by: Rohit Joshi, CEO, Brightsquid Rohit’s career as a senior executive spans more than 20 years with life science and technology companies in the USA and Canada. In that time he has developed a deep understanding of the challenges and benefits of communication in healthcare. Rohit’s legal expertise includes the use of technology for compliant communications.