Electronic Medical Record Goes Live at UVMC
|Nancy Miller, left, and Dawn Covault, RN, utilize the new Epic electronic medical records at UVMC.
When the Epic electronic medical record system went live at Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) on Oct. 1, it added another dimension to the focus on patient safety, enhancing quality and continuity of care across all of the Premier Health Partners (PHP) hospitals.
The Epic system provides technology that places a patient’s entire medical history on one electronic record. It currently is the top-ranked system of its kind, and is used among all of the PHP providers, which include Miami Valley and Good Samaritan hospitals in Dayton, Atrium Medical Center in Warren County, and UVMC.
One patient-centered electronic medial record will promote improved communication at UVMC and throughout the PHP system.
With the implementation of Epic at the local hospital, all of UVMC’s Upper Valley Professional Corporation physician offices also have converted to the new system.
“Epic is patient focused; it enhances patient safety and quality and continuity of care,” Nancy Miller, RN/MS, UVMC Manager of Clinical Information Services, said of the new Epic electronic medical record system. “It provides seamless communication between health care providers.”
For example, if a patient who comes to the UVMC Emergency Department (ED) is taken for advanced cardiac treatment at Good Samaritan or Miami Valley, no paper record has to be sent, Miller said. Via computer, those caregivers will see what was done at the UVMC ED along with information from X-rays and lab work.
Becky Rice, MA/FACHE, UVMC Vice President, said the Epic conversion has been a huge project for the UVMC and PHP team spanning over a two-year period. “The opportunity to make strides in patient safety, especially with bar coded medication administration, is significant,” she said.
“Healthcare delivery in the United States is on the path to transformation through information and data for use in decision making. This represents transformational change involving innovative solutions, changes in daily workflow of all caregivers and members of the medical staff, extensive planning and training, investment in computers, fingerprint readers, bar code scanners, and even changes in how healthcare is delivered,” Rice said.
“This electronic medical record represents an information technology investment in our patients, our community and our future,” she added.
Miller described the electronic medical record as another supporting tool for those providing care, noting “It does not replace clinicians and all of the caring that we have done here for years.”
In the initial days of the system’s use, patients may notice it takes longer for the nurse to enter all vital information including their medications in the electronic system. Information on the transition to the new system has been posted throughout UVMC to help notify patients of what is taking place.
Once information on patient history, home meds and allergies has been entered in the new system, the information will be updated on subsequent visits. The system will bring together information from the hospital and physician offices, eliminating the need to call or search for patient details.
Physicians also will be entering their orders into the system, eliminating problems with writing legibility. “The handwriting issues are gone,” Miller said. “The system also will alert the doctor if you are allergic to something.”
Preparations for the transformation to the electronic record system began in May 2010 with system planning, education and practice ongoing for many months.
Despite the planning and practice, extra staffing has been on hand at UVMC during go live week. “Their care will continue even though it’s a go live and it is new to us,” Miller said.