Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi will implement a new document management system called Epic Care on Dec. 1.
Epic Care, which stores patient records electronically, is intended to make it easier for physicians and medical staff to transfer documents with the click of a button. The switch to an electronic system is the direct product of a charter within an Affordable Care Act initiative. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will penalize hospitals that have not switched to the electronic system by a designated date.
Out of all Stage 7 medical systems in the United States, 69 percent of hospitals and 90 percent of clinics within the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society are now using the system, according to Epic Care. All hospitals within the Baptist Memorial Healthcare system are making the switch to Epic Care, calling their strain OneCare.
“Patient safety is at the forefront of our minds in everything we do,” said Sonia McKeithen, assistant administrator for the hospital. “The establishment of electronic medical records will greatly reduce the time it takes for our doctors to see patients and get them the medication and attention that they need.”
According to McKeithen, the hospital has employees called super users who have gone through 20 or more hours of extensive training for the new system. Every department aims to have at least one super user present for every shift. Each employee at Baptist, clinical and non-clinical, has to go through basic training for the system.
“We had 70 directors and managers that have gone away to be trained to help the physicians. Our hospital alone has right at 150 super users, which is incredibly impressive,” McKeithen said.
The hospital is also training medical offices throughout Lafayette County and surrounding serviced areas, making all forms visible to clinicians without having to transfer information. Doctors will now be able to enter prescriptions directly into the system, making them readily available at pharmacies at the press of one button.
Emery Newsom, physician relations coordinator at the hospital, said she is signing area clinics up for a web-based portal that can be used to access patients’ records at the hospital.
“We have been diligently communicating with representatives to make sure that they have everything they need for when the system goes live,” Newsom said. “During times of change, such as this, my role has become enhanced as a resource to ensure that this transition goes as smoothly as possible.”
Baptist Memorial Hospital is in the third wave of launching the system. Previous hospitals that have already started using the system include the Baptist Memorial Hospitals in Memphis, Collierville, Desoto, Tipton and Northeast Arkansas-Jonesboro.
Jondi Roberson, director of marketing and provider relations, is in charge of bringing the system to the public.
“We will have billboards, ads, elevator scans and anything you can think of to try to educate everyone about the program and get them to sign-up. Through physician-patient campaigns and various methods, our goal is to mostly bring awareness to the people that we service,” Roberson said.
The hospital will have designated staff members at admission and discharge, as well as throughout the hospital, educating patients and their families about the new system. Until August 2015, there will be an insert included in every bill or statement mailed out, according to Roberson.
“We are going to see patients either way,” McKeithen said. “However, the new system allows doctors to see more patients, spend more time in surgery and provide more efficient care to patients because it cuts down the time tremendously.”
McKeithen said she thinks Epic Care is the best system for their hospital since it is the most widely used and perfected.
“It’s like playing football; you practice and practice until you get to play,” McKeithen said. “And on Dec. 1, we will finally get to play.”