An Epic Improvement

by Paul Hiltz, President/CEO, FACHE

Nothing frustrates patients more than filling out medical history forms each time they visit a new healthcare provider. Remembering every single procedure, every single health scare, and every single medicine can be extremely difficult.

At NCH, we are doing our part to end that frustration for our patients with the system-wide implementation of an improved electronic medical records (EMR) system from Epic Systems Corporation (EPIC). Our leadership team at NCH has carefully reviewed Epic’s system for over a year and June 4 marked the switch from Cerner to Epic as the system’s new electronic medical record (EMR) platform. We are confident in the quality of Epic as it is rated higher by physicians than any other EMR system and is currently utilized by 20 of the 21 best hospitals ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

Epic’s unified platform places patients’ needs squarely at its core. Epic handles all patient documentation and billing in addition to replacing about 150 different applications. The ability to eliminate double documentation and record-faxing for more efficient record keeping improves the provider’s ability to deliver high-quality care.

MyChart, the patient-facing software provided by Epic, is already familiar to many patients around the nation. More than five million records are shared daily by organizations using Epic. Approximately 1,700 hospitals and healthcare systems in the United States alone use Epic with more than 250 million patient electronic records on file. Many of our seasonal residents already have their records on Epic/MyChart with their doctor up north, and now, the new platform will allow those same patients easy access to their records with their NCH doctor here in Southwest Florida.

Likewise, our NCH Healthcare System physicians will get a notification when one of their patients has a change to their medical record when they are outside the Naples area, such as being admitted to a hospital. Even when one of our patients visits another healthcare provider that does not utilize Epic’s software, they will still be able to give a link to their MyChart records, so the provider can view their medical information to deliver the appropriate care.

In addition to patient records, MyChart offers a secure messaging solution for use by care teams to ensure that all healthcare providers are up to date on a patient’s medical status while making recommendations for treatment. The ability to have more healthcare providers informed about any patient will allow us to deliver the best quality care possible. Other features include billing inquiries and improved bill payment functionality, medication refills and requests, test results, a problems list, provider notes, and online appointment scheduling with current and new providers.

Additionally, MyChart offer video visits, self-check-in, electronic consent signatures, and questionnaires are also available.

For patients who already have a MyChart account, they can link the two together and see their information in one spot. Our goal in making this important switch is to provide even better access to care, records, and results as well as an improved experience for our patients.

We are eager to see the improvements that Epic brings and are certain that it will help us live out our mission statement of helping everyone live a longer, happier, and healthier life.

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