Electronic Health Records

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South Dakota Health System Goes Live with Epic Implementation

Regional Health in South Dakota moved from nine separate systems to a single unified EHR following an Epic implementation at all facilities in its network.

Epic EHR

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Regional Health in South Dakota recently went live with its Epic implementation at all hospitals, clinics, urgent care facilities, and specialty treatment centers in its network.

“Every time you visit a Regional Health clinic or hospital — no matter which one — physicians and nurses will have your entire health history: every incident, every prescription, every referral, everything medically important about you,” stated Regional Health officials.

By consolidating all clinical operations into a single system, Regional Health will streamline its daily processes and reduce administrative hassle. Prior to the Epic implementation, Regional Health used nine EHR systems, five patient portals, and 11 billing systems. Now, the health system will use one unified system.

Regional Health currently serves more than 20 communities in Wyoming and South Dakota. Additionally, the health system includes 32 medical specialty areas, five hospitals, 24 clinics, and 5,000 physicians. Annually, the health system reports about 285,000 clinic visits, 75,000 emergency department visits, 20,000 hospital admissions, and 10,000 surgery cases.

Patients will also gain the ability to access their own health information through Epic’s patient portal MyChart. The online portal and mobile app will enable Regional Health patients to review account information, view lab test results, pay bills, communicate with their physicians, track appointments, and refill prescriptions.

READ MORE: Epic Systems Expands CVS Health Partnership to Lower Drug Costs

“Regional Health has the resources, services, and expertise that only a large health care organization can provide,” stated Regional Health officials. “Epic will focus that strength to better help patients and communities live well throughout the greater Black Hills region.”

WA hospital launches $2.2M customized Epic EHR

Earlier this month, Ocean Beach Hospital (OBH) and its medical clinics in Ilwaco, Washington, went live with its newly-implemented Epic EHR system.

The hospital will now use Providence healthcare system’s customized Epic system to manage all patient health records. The Epic EHR replacement cost $2.2 million and takes the place of Health Gen and Health Land — two systems OBH had previously used for its clinics and inpatient facility since 2015.

“This is just a game-changer in our community, with respect to improving quality and access to care,” OBH CEO Larry Cohen told Chinook Observer. “That’s really the driver for this.”

OBH officials hope the new Epic system will allow for faster patient access to information including lab test or x-ray results. Additionally, patients will not need to register separately at each facility since all facilities part of the OBH network operate on a single system.

READ MORE: Epic Named Best EDIS Enterprise Vendor in Overall Satisfaction

Providers at both Providence health system and OBH will also benefit from improved communication and care coordination. OBH physicians will have access to allergy and medication lists from regional providers in the area also using Providence health system’s customized Epic EHR. Other facilities using an identical system include Family Health Center in Klipsan Beach, the Vancouver Clinic, PeaceHealth, Legacy Kaiser, and other Kaiser facilities.

In total, the Epic implementation will connect providers and patient records from 34 hospitals and 475 clinics spanning from Montana to California. Providence health system offered OBH access to its version of Epic through “Community Connect,” which specializes in meeting the needs of small hospitals.

“It’s just a way that Providence is supporting communities to better link caregivers together,” he explained. 

Epic EHR users at OBH will also gain access to Epic MyChart. OBH officials stated it will take time before MyChart achieves full functionality. The database should be fully populated with all OBH patient health records by spring of 2018.

“The old systems are still alive and well in the background. They provide historical information,” Cohen said. “We are actually working on archiving them into a whole new database that will merge that information together.”

Henry Ford Health System integrates virtual visits into Epic MyChart

READ MORE: Epic EHR Contributed to Major Operating Losses for Dana-Farber

Henry Ford Health System will integrate virtual visits into its Epic MyChart workflow to allow patients more face-to-face interaction with their providers through video calls.

The health system will utilize video collaboration platform provider Vidyo to deploy Epic telehealth services to all Henry Ford patients. Henry Ford already offers mobile-based virtual visits in several specialties but will expand to other areas of care in the coming months.

“Telemedicine is a convenient way for patients to talk with their physician face-to-face in lieu of a conventional office visit,” said Henry Ford Director of Virtual Care Courtney Stevens. “Given today’s ever evolving healthcare environment, patients are looking for options beyond the traditional methods for connecting with their physician. Virtual visits appeal to a wide spectrum of patients.”

Vidyo will use IDSolutions Healthcare — Vidyo’s premier Epic telehealth deployment partner — to integrate with Epic.

“Healthcare providers look for more integrated ways to connect to simplify workflows,” said Vidyo CEO Eran Westman. “Deeply embedding video technology into the existing clinical workflows that they are already invested in and familiar with is key to the widespread adoption of telemedicine.”

Using telehealth in health systems can connect patients to their providers and encourage patients to adopt a more proactive role in their own health management. 

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