CareEverywhere: An Epic game-changer
Easy access to the latest patient information to deliver better, comprehensive care
By Claudia Dolphin
If easy, instant access to a patient’s health chart is the promise of digitizing the medical record, interoperability is its nemesis. Without nationally mandated standardization, organizations like ours have been left to plug the leaks and work around the gaps in an often, time consuming and manual process.
Well, that’s about to change with the CareEverywhere feature of the Epic electronic health record system which will be adopted by Cape Cod Healthcare on November 1, 2020.
According to Epic, there are currently more than 250 million patients with a record in their system, making Epic this country’s dominant vendor. With the November 1 go-live, Cape Cod Healthcare will now be able to exchange records with many healthcare organizations in the country.
CareEverywhere is a standard part of Epic’s infrastructure. It lets clinicians exchange and interact with data so that the medical record is an accurate and true picture of the patient’s total health status and history.
“When patients are treated in another healthcare system, it is very important for the safety of their care that the PCP have all of that information in a timely manner,” said Cape Cod Healthcare medical director and primary care physician, Kumara Sidhartha, MD.
Having updates to medication changes at your fingertips, along with information about new allergies, emergency visits, test results and more, allows for the highest quality of care for the best possible outcomes.
Senior manager of patient information systems at Cape Cod Healthcare, Greg Everson explains the pitfalls of the current system and why it’s about to get a whole lot better.
“In our current legacy systems in the hospitals today, acquiring data and external records from other organizations and systems is a highly manual process involving phone calls from office staff, receiving faxes and scanning documents into ED Pulsecheck, Soarian Clinicals and other systems,” said Everson. “This is a time-intensive process that doesn’t always get our clinicians what they need and isn’t always a complete picture.”
Epic’s CareEverywhere will be a game changer for Cape Cod Healthcare and our clinicians across ambulatory and acute environments, he said.
So how does this work?
When patients are treated in another healthcare setting, that information can be easily found with CareEverywhere Advance Record Location (ARL), an automated query system for patient records at an outside organization. When identified, an indicator in the patient’s local chart alerts clinicians that there is new activity. Key events include:
- An emergency visit
- An update to patient demographics
- An inpatient admission
- A check-in for a scheduled appointment
There is also access to lab results, images and specialty care from these other organizations.
“We don’t have to seek out the information. It happens automatically and is waiting in an inbox. It is Illuminated to get your attention,” said Dr. Sidhartha.
A key benefit from the CareEverywhere technology is the ability to discretely reconcile and incorporate key patient data into our Epic system. In particular, coded allergies, home medications, patient problems and diagnoses, as well as other visit histories and clinical documentation, said Everson.
“This will be a timesaver and avoid much of the clerical tasks taken today to get a better picture on what a patient has had done for their care elsewhere,” he said.
And it pays full respect to patient privacy and adheres to all of the HIPPA standards.
Why is this important?
Improving the patient experience is at the heart of moving to Epic. Coordinated care will be more comprehensive. And that means better care.
“One of the things the patient wants to know is that the physician in front of them has all the critical pieces to make the most informed decision for their care,” said Dr. Sidhartha. “It is such a reassuring feeling for the patient to know that all of the information is getting to the right place at the right time. It boosts a sense of confidence in their care.”
And given our typical heightened summer volume and tourist seasons, with patients visiting the Cape, our physicians will have their data at their fingertips. Providers will now have the tools to enhance their knowledge about non-CCHC visits that would otherwise not be known.
For our clinicians, having access to critical pieces of information in an instant is a big enhancement.
“Timeliness is key, having complete information is key, and having it available for the physician to review is also key,’ said Dr. Sidhartha. “This is a huge deal.”
“I’m excited for our patients that our physicians will have their data readily available to them to ensure the most comprehensive and best patient care possible,” said Everson.
And for clinicians, the exposure to external data with CareEverywhere™ will be unlike anything that we’ve ever had before.