New Electronic Health Record at PHMG

9/2/2013

​A new method of maintaining electronic health records (EHR) was recently implemented at PeaceHealth Medical Group clinics in Ketchikan and Prince of Wales. The new system, called EPIC, will make communication easier for patients, especially those who receive health care at different facilities. It provides easy and secure retrieval of information and will track information with greater efficiency and accuracy and improve communications
with patients.

“Timely information is critical to high quality patient care,” said Ken Tonjes, interim Chief Administrative Officer for PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center. “This new EHR system is a more powerful tool to effectively help PeaceHealth clinicians better manage our patients’ care.”

To better serve patients by using newer health care technologies, all PeaceHealth facilities are switching to EPIC. PeaceHealth Ketchikan will transition to the new system September 1.

Among the many benefits of the new Epic EHR – a certified system that meets federal health care reform standards – is the easy, secure retrieval of information for providers in a variety of ways. Patients and physicians alike benefit from this enhancement.

Another benefit to patients is that Epic EHR is used by many health care facilities across the Pacific Northwest and nationwide, which makes it simple for patients, no matter where they receive their care, to have providers exchange important medical information on their behalf.

“Using Epic here will most certainly allow for greater continuity of care for my patients who are seen elsewhere in health systems that also use the Epic EHR – such as the University of Washington, Group Health and Swedish,” said Women’s Health physician Deb Landis Lewis, MD. “It can be challenging to access complete records from other providers in a timely fashion. With Epic, I can look up information when I need to, even together with the patient in the exam room. I hope this also allows women to feel more involved in their care and part of decision-making.”

According to Tonjes, this makes it especially convenient for patients who travel and may need care outside of our community. “Doctors from other health systems that also use Epic EHR can easily look up notes from recent visits, as well as allergies, medications or other information for a patient who received care at PeaceHealth. “The Epic EHR supports better overall patient assessment and treatment decision.”

“For the pregnant women I care for, Epic groups their OB visits so I can more easily follow them over time, including any high risk conditions that arise or abnormal results” said Dr. Landis Lewis. She said Epic EHR will improve her practice by allowing her to accurately and easily document a patient’s visit, track records, coordinate medications and communication to reduce potential for medication errors, and make referrals smoother.

The Epic EHR is paper-free and provides secure electronic communication between providers and pharmacists and laboratories, as well as between patients and their health care team.

Dr. Landis Lewis said that with Epic, patients will be able to leave their provider’s office with a print summary of what was discussed during their appointment, any changes in medication, orders for lab work and physician recommendations.

In addition, the Epic EHR makes it easier for patients to see their own records and interact with their clinic remotely, 24/7. With the Epic EHR, PeaceHealth Ketchikan patients who sign up for “PatientConnection” – a free online tool – will be able to:
• Send a secure message to your health care team (replies typically within one to three business days);
• View a summary of and recommendations from your last visit;
• Directly schedule a primary-care appointment;
• View results of lab or other tests; and recommendations from your last visit;
• Directly schedule a primary-care appointment;
• View results of lab or other tests; and
• View allergies or medications.

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