by Lorin Fetzer

As a provider of outsourced telephone nurse triage services, one of the things we are frequently asked to implement is the interfacing of a client’s Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system with our documentation system. This has its benefits and will have different solutions based on the client’s requirements.When assessing the best method of interfacing a client’s EMR with an outsourced documentation system, the medical call center team researches several pieces of criteria such as:

  • What are the client objectives and requirements?  For example, what clinical information must the nurse see vs. what is already available in the call center’s triage system and processes?
  • What information should be passed back to the EMR?
  • Are there requirements that can only be achieved by providing the nurse access to the EMR?
  • Does the client have a document management system that can be used in the solution?
  • What client resources are available for the project?

Logging into the client’s EMR may seem like the simplest solution, but there are a number of considerations that need to be addressed before selecting this as the chosen method. As an example, in an integrated call center every nurse would have to meet the organization’s security requirements to obtain and maintain logins. This often requires substantial effort and ongoing management. In the case that EMR does not have triage guidelines or other components required to drive and report calls, the nurse would be required to use the call center triage system as well as the EMR, thus creating inefficiencies and opportunity for error.

Often, instead of logging into the client’s EMR, it is more efficient and appropriate to limit the fields that can be viewed by the nurse and automate the process of transferring the information to and from the EMR and the triage documentation system. These automated options meet the provider’s needs, improve efficiencies and reduce the risk of clinical error. At our call center, the IT team uses different interface methods as appropriate to provide the best solution. These methods used include HL7, image transfers, web portals, flat file transfers and single sign on to directly populate the EMR and the triage documentation system.

Once the team determines the client’s objectives, vision and requirements, a collaborative plan can be created to accomplish the client’s goals.


Lorin Fetzer, TeamHealth Medical Call Center Leadership, IT Director

Lorin Fetzer

Lorin Fetzer is the Director of IT for TeamHealth Medical Call Center.

TeamHealth Medical Call Center is the premier provider of telephone nurse triage services in the country and offers free EMR Interface Assessments to organizations who are in the discovery phase of outsourcing call center services. Contact Karen Brown at to schedule an EMR Interface Assessment.