An Epic Investment in Patient Care

Electronic health records system puts patients first

Morgan Smith, a registered nurse and specialty clinics coordinator at Shriners Children’s Greenville, is meeting with an orthopedic patient.

She enters the room, and the patient’s journey begins with Epic, the most utilized and popular electronic medical records system in the U.S. It all starts with checking vitals and collecting basic information. Height, weight, blood pressure check. But it’s more than that.

“We make sure their medications are correct, check if they have any allergies and we input all of their history into Epic,” she said. “Then, they’re ready to see the provider, who will have all of that information at their fingertips.”

It’s the start of collaboration that will extend through the patient’s entire care journey.

Efficiency and personalized care

Part of Shriners Children’s commitment to providing the highest quality of care is investing in the latest technology and tools. The goal of the Epic electronic medical record system is to ensure more personalized, ever-higher quality care. A user-friendly tool, Epic has many features that allow for higher accuracy and increased collaboration and efficiency.

Fran Farley, M.D., Chief Medical Officer

“It really revolutionizes the care of the children, to have the medical information available the same day for much better coordinated care and efficient care in the clinic,” said Fran Farley, M.D., Shriners Children’s Chief Medical Officer.

Smith, who just started using Epic, sees its value. “It has cut down on time and improved the workflow,” she said.

As a workflow tool, Epic helps drive each step in the care process, explained Shriners Children’s Chief Information Officer John McFarland. For example, the system automatically updates as a medical assistant, nurse and physician each do their part.

Through the system, the provider informs Smith if the patient needs labs or any other follow-ups, and she updates the chart and schedules future appointments.

“So we not only have the capability of ensuring the clinical documentation is accurate, but also awareness of their journey that day,” McFarland said. “It helps drive people to take the next steps, so the visit in its entirety is the most efficient it can be.”

By the end of the day, any of the child’s medical providers can see the updated records, not just within Shriners Children’s, but, through secure links, the child’s pediatrician and any of their other specialists.

A systemwide effort

Beverly Bokovitz, Chief Nursing Officer

To boost accuracy and efficiency, Epic recordkeeping is streamlined across the healthcare system.

“If you’re a nurse, your documentation is going to be the same if you’re in Shriners Children’s Hawai i or if you’re in Shriners Children’s Boston,” said Shriners Children’s Chief Nursing Officer Beverly Bokovitz, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “Whether you have a patient with burns or a child in orthopedics, the documentation is standardized across our system.”

What it means for patients

It’s all part of the positive experience that Shriners Children’s is dedicated to providing.

“Both patients and their caregivers think the appointments are faster,” Smith said. “Patients and families love MyChart, the patient portal connected to Epic. So, if they leave the visit and they forgot to ask the provider a question, they can just message the provider directly through MyChart, or they can schedule their appointments through MyChart. They can also access their health records securely through the tool.”

“With Epic, we improve the quality of care, and we improve the relationship between the patient and the nurses,” Bokovitz said. “Having a customized plan is very much key to the wrap-around care that we deliver at Shriners Children’s.”