HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital will soon go live with Epic, a new electronic health record (EHR) system as part of its ongoing commitment to patient safety while also continuing to streamline health information sharing with other providers.

With the addition of St. Anthony’s, Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) is completing a four-year $112 million initiative to ensure that patients and providers served by HSHS hospitals and their affiliated partners (Prairie Cardiovascular and HSHS Medical Group) have access to the most advanced electronic health record currently available.

Information contained in the EHR includes care orders, test results, physician notes and reports, as well as patients’ medical history. Epic provides a technology platform for this information to be shared with nurses, physicians and other caregivers in one integrated system. It will enhance transparent communication across locations and specialties. The hospital’s go live date is Saturday, June 8.

“Epic is a widely used health record system, used not only by our HSHS hospitals, but also by many of our physician partners, like HSHS Medical Group and Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Jennings. “By using the same EHR, clinicians will have access to more complete and accurate information about the care of their patients at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital or in one of our clinics.”

Epic puts important medical information, essential for diagnosis and treatment of patients, immediately at the fingertips of doctors and caregivers, including built-in alerts that help improve patient safety. Jennings said, “Epic will ultimately allow our caregivers to spend more time at the patient’s bedside.”

Epic is used by a majority of U.S. News and World Report’s top-ranked hospitals and medical schools that are working collaboratively every day to improve patient care, innovate health care delivery and achieve financial health. All organizations using Epic can easily exchange patient data for improved patient care.

As part of the Epic implementation, patients will also gain access to Epic’s patient portal, MyChart. The portal will allow patients to view their medical records, manage their appointments, and communicate with their providers, among other benefits. Patients can access MyChart through their phones and on the internet.

As the system is implemented, keeping security of confidential patient records remains a high priority. Epic technology incorporates sophisticated mechanisms, including individual user passwords and firewalls, to make sure patient privacy is protected.

During Go Live

While HSHS St. Anthony’s has had the Meditech electronic health record since 2007, there is a learning curve for the staff. Epic Project Manager Kim Richter said, “Our colleagues have been hard at work training on the Epic system since March and are doing a wonderful job learning the new system. When we go live with Epic on Saturday, June 8, we don’t anticipate any problems but do ask our patients who come that day and for a few weeks after for patience as we become comfortable with Epic, as it is drastically different from our previous system.”

To help with the transition, St. Anthony’s reminds patients:

If you have an appointment for a test at HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital or one of the hospital’s Diagnostic Centers, arrive 15 minutes early to assist with the registration process.

Keep in mind that a new EMR affects every department of the hospital, including Environmental Services (housekeeping) and Food and Nutrition Services.

Be patient with hospital colleagues and caregivers as they learn the new system.