It’s called Epic, and its impact could be exactly that.
Representatives of Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk announced Thursday that it would be implementing a new electronic medical records system called Epic for patients and providers.
For years, hospitals have used different medical records systems in various departments and integrated the data using various techniques, but it was a complex and time-consuming process.
But the implementation of Epic will enable Faith Regional to instantly share information with medical providers across the nation to benefit patient care, said Mark Klosterman, president and CEO of Faith Regional.
That’s something that is good for Faith Regional and collaborating entities like Nebraska Medicine in Omaha.
"Providing Faith Regional patients access to their medical records with a top-quality product like Epic is a win for everyone involved," said Dan DeBehnke, CEO of Nebraska Medicine. "It's another example of how Faith Regional and Nebraska Medicine can collaborate to provide a better patient experience for the people of Northeast and North Central Nebraska, while still allowing them to receive care from the providers they know and trust.”
DeBehnke said implementing the Epic system can only help Faith Regional’s efforts to remain a locally owned, independent health care organization. That’s a goal Nebraska Medicine supports, he added.
Another benefit of Epic is that patients also will be able to access their health information through the MyChart app, allowing them to be more engaged and informed about their health. Through the smartphone app, patients can access their Epic records, make an appointment, receive test results, order prescription refills and even message their physician’s office through a secure portal, said Brian Sterud, the hospital’s chief information officer.
“This platform is the best in its class and will create a unified database accessible by members of the care team at their fingertips, increasing efficiencies and convenience for patients and providers,” he said.
Klosterman said there are various electronic medical records platforms and approaches to bringing this type of software into health care organizations. Technology has evolved to a cloud-based, offsite approach that allows the system to be utilized anywhere.
“Epic has a process by which an organization can acquire the software by purchasing through other installations,” Klosterman said. “Faith Regional is purchasing Epic through Nebraska Medicine. By acquiring the software in this manner, we are exercising one of our core values — stewardship — ensuring we get the best value while saving money.”
Over the next 18 months, the hospital’s Information Technology department will lead the installation and implementation of Epic, Klosterman said.
“The entire Faith Regional organization will be deeply invested in Epic education, implementation and transitioning current systems ... to bring superior collaboration throughout the region, benefiting patients through an integrated approach to high-quality health care,” he said.