NEA Baptist Clinic and NEA Baptist Hospital are close to switching to an integrated electronic medical record system. NEA Baptist will be joining about half of all hospitals in the nation that use electronic healthcare software provided by a company named Epic. NEA Baptist Clinic will start using Epic August first and NEA Hospital will make the switch September first. CEO of NEA Baptist Clinic Darrell King says the clinic has been using an electronic medical record for the past ten years, and is making the transition over to the Epic system. NEA Baptist Hospital has never had an electronic medical record. King says the main priority is to bring everyone on the same system.
“The electronic medical record has worked pretty well for us,” said King. “The one thing that was missing is that it was not integrated with our hospital. So if a physician was seeing a patient in the hospital, they would have access to a medical record. However, it was not seamless access and it was not integrated where everything could be found all together.”
King says a couple of years ago, NEA Baptist Clinic joined the conversation with the NEA Baptist Hospital and the NEA Baptist System to join a fully integrated electronic medical record. That is when it was decided that NEA Baptist system would join Epic Healthcare Software Systems. He says there are many advantages to doing this.
“The main thing is access to information. Now our physicians, wherever they are in the system, they will all the time have access to all of the information they need for a patient. This can happen whether they are in the clinic, in the emergency room, in the operating room, in the hospital, or wherever they are. They will have uninterrupted access to the information they need in a seamless sort of way”.
He says all of the physicians and staff is getting used to the system and will be ready to go August first. Brad Parsons is administrator of the NEA Baptist Hospital. He tells how the hospital is getting ready to switch from paper records to the new electronic medical record.
“After the clinic goes live August 1st, we will go live September 1st. We are switching from a paper system to an electronic record and the biggest benefit is the integration. We talk a lot about our integrated health system, and we believe this electronic record will be a key step in the further integration of the system. Information will be readily available to anyone in the system that needs access to it, which will help in providing better care to our patients, decrease cost, and improve efficiency”.
He says there have been some challenges in getting ready for the switch. The main challenge has been getting used to changing over to an electronic system and getting used to coding under the new system. He says once the electronic medical records start, the system will start saving information and compiling it for patients to get easy access to. Medical records previous to the EPIC start will still be paper, but the new electronic record will be built over time as patients use the NEA Baptist system. He says one advantage will be that patients will have easy access to their medical records with a mobile device or a computer through an app.
“Everybody will hear a lot more about the MyChart patient portal. As a patient, you will have unprecedented access to your health information through the MyChart app. People will like what they see when they get the MyChart app and can access their information, their provider, immunization forms, and things that will make it easier for them to keep up with. The ultimate goal is to help make it easier for patients to manage their health”.
He says one tool under the MyChart app allows users to see where all hospitals are in the nation that use the Epic system, so people who are out of state can go to a hospital that can quickly access their electronic medical record. Parsons says this would be helpful in the unfortunate event that a medical issue happens while someone is on vacation or on a business trip away from the area.