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May 8, 2014
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Need your medical records, there’s an app for that: Upstate University Hospital campuses, clinics now offering electronic medical records

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Two months after Upstate University Hospital’s Downtown Campus introduced its electronic medical record, its Community Campus has now implemented the fully  secure, electronic medical records (EMR) system integrated across all phases of its care, with its change over the system May 3. This new way of doing business is making it easier for patients to readily access their medical information. It also benefits their health care providers by providing immediate access to patient records from any location. With this recent implementation at the Community Campus, patients’ clinical information is easily accessible from ambulatory sites as well as from both Upstate University Hospital campuses.

Upstate partnered with Epic, based out of Verona, Wis., as its EMR and practice management application vendor. Fifty percent of the U.S. population has a record in an Epic system. Epic uses a “one patient, one record” approach to gathering and housing a patient’s medical information.

Specifically, Epic is a secure, paperless, digital and computerized software system that integrates and maintains a patient’s medical profile, or medical history, including medications, illnesses, records of doctor’s office or emergency room visits, and insurance information. Administrative functions such as scheduling, admitting and patient billing are also handled on Epic. The patient, as well as their health care providers, can access their medical records online from any location to receive a comprehensive medical profile of the patient.

“I congratulate everyone who was involved with our launch on both campuses and also those who previously implemented Epic in the outpatient and emergency department clinical sites at our Downtown Campus,” says Upstate’s Chief Information Officer Terry Wagner. “With our Community Campus now on board, we can proudly say that we have met our goal to standardize processes and create consistency for patients and staff.”

Upstate University Hospital CEO John McCabe, M.D., highlighted Epic’s benefits and thanked staff members who were involved in the change to the EMR system.

“Medical information is being transformed and the changes are happening more rapidly,” he said. “Now we will be able to use information in new and robust ways as we deliver care, including creating a closer connection with patients. After they leave Upstate, patients will be able to use MyChart at home or while traveling to access their clinical record, to request appointments and to communicate with their doctor. I offer my sincere thanks to the hundreds of people here who are making Epic happen and to all who will continue to support this mission-critical change.”

There are many advantages to using the EMR system, especially for patients.

Patients at Upstate’s Downtown Campus can access their records and create a free account with Upstate MyChart. This secure, password protected account is accessible exclusively to the patient at any time. The information in MyChart is encrypted and is not intended for urgent medical issues or to resolve health-related issues. A patient should contact their provider directly with these concerns.

“MyChart has been available to Upstate outpatients since 2012,” said Wagner. “With our most recent Epic inpatient launch, we are happy to offer this unique and vital service to all of our patients at our Downtown Campus.”

Epic also offers several advantages to the health care community, allowing providers to:

• document or review a patient’s medical problem(s) and a patient’s history, including allergies and immunizations;

• document, review and reconcile a patient’s medications as well as e- prescribe;

• place orders for laboratory, radiology, and other ancillary procedures as well as medications;

• review a repository of orders, results and notes for clinical decision- making;

• create visit notes as well as letters to patients and referring providers;

• use support tools such as health maintenance reminders, best practice alerts and alternatives;

• use reports to view open/closed encounters, view patients seen by diagnosis, etc;

• and provide the patient with an after-visit summary, such as orders, results, patient education, medications, etc.

Upstate’s first clinic went live with Epic in January of 2012. Hospitals will be penalized with a reduction in Medicare payments if they do not have technology in place for certified electronic health records by 2015.

Caption: Overseeing the EPIC initiative at Upstate’s Community Campus are, from left, Chief Nursing Officer Nancy Page, Community Campus Chief Administrative Officer Nancy Daoust and Community Campus Director of Nursing Sharon Klaiber, in the Epic Command Center at Community Campus

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