With the launching of Epic technology last month, UCHealth Pikes Peak Regional Hospital offers a one-stop portal for patient medical information.
“Epic allows for one chart to follow patients throughout multiple areas where they receive care,” said Megan Grinell, the hospital’s director of nursing.
With the Epic’s electronic medical records’ software physicians can easily track the medical history of patients admitted to the hospital. “Registration, radiology, lab, wound care, oncology, outpatient, inpatient, surgeries, all have tools within Epic that talk to each other,” said Becky Hamill, clinical information specialist. “Forty-five percent of U.S. patients have their medical records with Epic. That includes all of the hospitals within UCHealth.”
Physicans who become part of the technology can enter information into the electronic health record, EHR, said Johannes Winfrey, Epic clinical manager. “So there’s a complete spectrum of patient information encompassed.”
Epic technology includes analytics that help identify risk factors while offering individual sites through My Health Connection. “This replaces the old portal system that was ... problematic,” Winfrey said. “My Health Connection is a far superior product.”
With Epic, patients can view the results of lab work, refill prescriptions through a UCHealth pharmacy, schedule or cancel appointments and send messages to physicians’ offices.
Epic technology includes fee-based virtual visits, up to a 15-minute consult, with a physician; the visits are not yet covered by insurance.
Grinell, Hamill and Winfrey tout the patient-safety aspect of Epic, particularly in a hospital setting where there is the possibility of duplicate treatments from one facility to another, a CT scan, for instance.
But there is a downside to the new technology, Winfrey added. “There is the possibility that if a patient has never been in an Epic hospital we’re going to ask for their old information,” Winfrey said.
But for the 15-bed hospital in Woodland Park, the Epic platform is a definite accomplishment that puts Pikes Peak Regional in the same category as the other facilities in the UCHealth network.
“This was a huge undertaking; we’re definitely proud to take it on because of the streamline processes,” Grinell said. “We feel privileged to be able to offer this.”
Hamill added: “Everyone had a hand in it; we were all joyous and energetic, ready to go and take this on,” she said. “It was a great experience, one where everyone saw the benefits.”
In what could have been a year-long process, the hospital launched the Epic software in four months. “It was a whirlwind,” Grinell said.