Phase one of a unified health network called Epic is now active at hospitals in the University of Vermont Health Network.
There are 6 hospitals and a home health and hospice organization apart of the UVM Health Network.
In phase one, Epic has gone live at Central Vermont Medical Center, Porter Medical Center, UVM Medical Center, and CVPH.
Dr. Doug Gentile is the Chief Medical Information Officer at the UVM Medical Center. He believes Epic is another step in the evolution of health care.
“I’m old enough to have practiced before electronic medical records when it was all paper. I work in the emergency room, so first of all I would hope that I could get the record because often times I couldn’t and when I did if it was a complicated patient it would be stacks of paper,” said Dr. Gentile.
Technology has made accessing medical records easier over time. However, there are different systems for each unit at the hospital and across UVM Health Network. Before Epic, it was hard to view all of a patient’s record.
“Trying to get these different systems to effectively communicate so that we have a comprehensive view of the patient’s record is almost impossible. So, what epic does is take all of that patchwork of systems and replaces it with a single system,” said Gentile.
Epic provides a single source with all of a patient’s information. Anywhere a patient goes within the Health Network, providers and nurses are going to have their full medical record. Before Epic, a patient’s information would not be transferred from hospital to hospital as easily. A patient would need to fill out a whole new record. With Epic, a patient may go to get specialized care at one hospital and when they go to their regular doctor, their specialized care would already be in the system. Providers who are outside of the UVM Health Network who also have Epic can access a patient’s information.
According to doctors, this will provide better care for their patients. Dr. Anna Hankins is a pediatrician at Central Vermont Medical Center. She said Epic will help her with patients who have special or rare illnesses.
“Trying to make sure that physicians at UVM, physicians at the CVMC Emergency Departmental know all of the information that they need to know about this child with a very serious new illness has been very, very difficult. I can’t wait to have this child’s medical record all in one place and all of us be able to seamlessly communicate about her care,” said Hankins.
“This allows us to standardize that level of care anywhere they are seen in the network,” said Gentile.
There is also an online portal that patients can access at any time to do things like billing and scheduling or registering for appointments.