Message from Gregory Szlyk, MD
Chair, IT Committee, Board of Managers
On June 2, after almost two years of planning and preparation, Mary Washington
Healthcare (MWHC) transitioned to a new electronic medical record, Epic.
The new platform has replaced dozens of independent niche platforms with
a fully integrated enterprise-wide solution. MWHC has retired dozens of
legacy systems, and replaced them with the Epic platform, and in doing
so has taken a giant step towards integrating the delivery of healthcare
across our entire community. For the first time, providers in all areas
of the care pathway are able to access a patient’s complete medical
record which includes ambulatory, emergency, inpatient, mother/baby, imaging,
laboratory, pharmacy, procedural services, dietary, home health, rehab and more.
One particular area which directly impacts the Mary Washington Health Alliance
is called Healthy Planet. Nurse care coordinators utilize Healthy Planet
to identify, interact with, and track patients that require extra assistance.
Epic allows Alliance nurses to work closely with home health and primary
care practices to improve outcomes. Here are some observations from our
Epic brings together the inpatient and outpatient record so we don’t
have to look in multiple places to find out where the patient is getting
care – we are always looking for ways to help the patient streamline
their care. We can see the imported record for the employed practices
and with ‘Care Everywhere’ we can see the claims information
for practices who are not on Epic. It helps us to know who the patient
is seeing consistently for their care and our nurses can work with them
in addition to our own PCP’s. Also, we can see home health information
from hospital owned agencies (such as Continuum with UVA) when detail
is pulled from ‘Care Everywhere.’ In the past, we would have
to make multiple calls to locate this information.
Everyone agrees that help is needed to bridge the gap between the time
when a patient is discharged and their follow-up visit with the PCP. Epic
has helped the Alliance nursing team coordinate care because the entire
treatment team uses the same platform.
We found one discharge instruction sheet that actually instructed the patient
to follow up with the Alliance RNCC after discharge. This is exciting
as it will not only support continuity with patient follow up, but also
the practices can see this in ‘Epic CareLink’ to know that
we are already working with the patient. It will also help to educate
the nursing staff at the hospital as well.
Epic helps providers identify and track patients that are at high risk
for readmission and allows the care team to efficiently manage their care.
The Alliance nurses identify patient specific goals that the hospital
staff and practices can see when they are reviewing patient records. This
communicates what we are actively working on with their patients, along
with our progress notes.
These are just a few examples of how Epic is already helping the Alliance
deliver better care in a more efficient manner. Many practices are excited
to see how Epic can help their practice. We hope to be able to provide
more information in the coming months about the Epic community connect
program, which allows community practices to deploy Epic in the office
setting. To learn more about this program, please email Dr. Greg Szlyk