New System to Help Clinics Document Care, Share Record with Patients
To better serve patients by using newer health care technologies, PeaceHealth clinics are switching to a new electronic health record (EHR) known as Epic. The clinic at PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center (PIMC) will transition to Epic on September 1.
"Timely information is critical to high quality patient care," said Jim Barnhart, Chief Administrative Officer for PIMC. "Our new EHR system is a more powerful tool to effectively help PeaceHealth clinicians better manage their patients' care."
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.
Rachel Bishop, MD, a family physician at Peace Island Medical Center said, "Epic will allow us to track medical information with much greater efficiency and accuracy while improving communication with our patients. I have worked with this system in the past and truly value the array of tools available that it provides."
A 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.
"As a physician, I appreciate knowing that if my patients are seen by physicians in any other health system that also use the Epic EHR – such as the University of Washington, Group Health and Swedish – I can look up records from those visits when I need to, even with the patient in the exam room," said Dr. Bishop.
According to Barnhart, this makes it especially convenient for patients who travel and may need care outside of our community. Doctors from other health systems that use the Epic EHR across the country can use Epic to 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."
According to Dr. Bishop, Epic EHR improves 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 easier.
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. Bishop 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, Islanders 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
View allergies or medications.
PeaceHealth Peace Island Medical Center– the result of a collaboration between the San Juan County Hospital District No. 1 and PeaceHealth – includes a ten-bed critical access hospital, primary care and specialty clinics, a cancer center, diagnostic and treatment services, an operating suite for outpatient procedures and a 24-hour emergency department. Peace Island Medical Center operates as part of the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in the Northwest Network of Care, which includes a not-for-profit full-service hospital founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, and is part of the PeaceHealth system with medical centers in Alaska, Washington and Oregon. In addition to the hospital and PeaceHealth Medical Group, PeaceHealth’s services in Northwest Washington include several Centers of Excellence, North Cascade Cardiology, a diagnostic laboratory, a joint venture outpatient imaging service and a specialty clinic in Sedro-Woolley.