Aspen Valley Hospital has Epic, the gold standard in electronic health records
Patients will now experience a significant upgrade to the care and services they receive from Aspen Valley Hospital’s Network of Care. Epic, a comprehensive electronic health records (EHR) system, launched on October 1. The benefits of this cutting-edge tool are nothing short of remarkable.
Modernizing Patient Medical Records
As the leading EHR in the United States, more than 268 million people in the US and in 16 different countries have a record in Epic. Aspen Valley Hospital is now one of the smallest healthcare organizations in the nation to implement Epic as an independent organization, putting it on par with major hospitals and health systems throughout the country, including academic medical centers and specialty networks.
“Epic is the premier EHR in the United States and abroad,” said Dave Ressler, AVH’s Chief Executive Officer. “In fact, 90 percent of physicians at academic medical centers across the country are being trained on Epic. It is simply the best system on the market. Having Epic positions AVH among the top institutions dedicated to delivering the highest quality of patient care.”
A Single Patient Record = Optimal Care Delivery
One of Epic’s most unique attributes is that the system is built on a single-patient database. This means that individuals have one electronic health record no matter where in the network they seek treatment. Rather than having various medical files with different providers, patients have the same exact record at all locations utilizing Epic.
“This decreases the patient’s burden of having to combine health records or provide the same background information every time they see a new provider,” said Michelle Gelroth, AVH’s Chief Information Officer. “The single-record system allows providers across systems and geographies to work together to provide uninterrupted patient care.”
Because Epic is the electronic medical record of choice for healthcare providers across Colorado and the country, providers will have the information necessary to assure optimal patient care delivery. Whether a patient is being referred to a larger center in Denver or coming to AVH after starting treatment at another facility, Epic will ensure the patient’s data is available when needed.
A Year of Testing, Training and Due Diligence
Months prior to the October 1 launch, AVH formed multiple committees comprised of staff and physicians to evaluate Epic and examine the application, interfaces, hardware and functionality. During this process, the teams assessed workflows to verify the tool enhances the care experience for patients, providers and staff. In addition, Epic and AVH worked closely together on state-of-the-art security protocols.
“We take privacy and security very seriously,” Gelroth said. “We have instilled industry best practices to ensure access to records follows HIPAA requirements and are in alignment with long-standing policies and procedures to protect patient information.”
Staff training was another major initiative. Administrators, clinicians and staff were required to complete training requirements before receiving access to Epic. This helped confirm all staff members were fully prepared to use the system.
“Training does not end with the system going live,” Gelroth said. “We have a robust support team to assist with the transition through at-the-elbow support and scheduled huddles addressing questions now that we are actively using the system. Additionally, we have post-implementation training classes established to ensure everyone becomes a more advanced user over time.”
Off and Running
Since Epic was launched, staff have been singing its praises. This fully integrated system has enhanced patient care communications throughout AVH and its Network of Care.
“We can now share relevant patient information in real time, get notified of updates on labs and imaging, connect directly with medical, nursing and ancillary staff, and provide feedback directly to patients,” said John “Bud” Glismann, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician at AVH. “The easily accessed chart summaries and progress notes, in a structured format, have greatly facilitated communication between primary care and consultants.”
Most importantly, these improvements benefit patients as best practice guidelines and safety measures are built into the system. This means there is much less room for error.
“Epic greatly improves patient safety and quality of care,” Dr. Glismann said. “It reduces inaccuracies, helps eliminate redundant medical testing and facilitates dialogue between providers and patients.”
A Testament to Excellence
Aspen Valley Hospital is only the second hospital with less than 400 beds in Colorado to have its own implementation. This is particularly impressive since not every small hospital, or even larger hospital, has the capacity and technical capabilities to implement Epic.
“Our capable Information Technology team and our existing infrastructure positioned us for a successful implementation,” Ressler said. “We are proud that our Hospital now has the same electronic record sophistication as the most prestigious hospital systems in the country. And this didn’t happen by accident. It’s because of our Board of Directors’ unwavering commitment to having the best and being the best.”
“We are proud that our Hospital now has the same electronic record sophistication as the most prestigious hospital systems in the country. And this didn’t happen by accident. It’s because of our Board of Directors’ unwavering commitment to having the best and being the best.”
― Dave Ressler, AVH’s Chief Executive Officer
MyChart, My Way
Take Your Health Record with You, Wherever You Go
Thanks to Epic, you can now see your medications, test results, upcoming appointments, medical bills, price estimates and more all in one place – even if you’ve been seen at multiple healthcare organizations. It’s called MyChart, and it’s accessible by mobile app or desktop web browser.
“MyChart is Epic’s portal for patients,” said Michelle Gelroth, AVH’s Chief Information Officer. “This portal allows patients to manage their own health records and interact with their care team from the comfort of their own homes.”
Access Your Health Information
Specifically, MyChart allows you to:
- Access Test Results: No more waiting for a letter. You can see results and doctor comments within days.
- Schedule appointments and find care. Make appointments at your convenience, complete pre-visit tasks from home, and find the nearest walk-in care, after-hours care or emergency room when you need it.
- Connect with a doctor no matter where you are. Send a message, talk face-to-face over video or arrange an in-person visit. Easily get answers to medical questions without having to make a phone call.
- Request prescription refills. Send a request for any of your refillable medications.
- Share your medical record safely and securely. Most healthcare providers can automatically access your information. But if they can’t, you have the power to share your record on the spot.
“MyChart will significantly streamline the patient experience,” said John “Bud” Glismann, MD, FACEP, Emergency Medicine Physician at AVH. “Patients will no longer have to fill out registration forms and medical history with each and every provider. The app even allows patients to check-in for appointments on their phones.”
An Epic Display of Teamwork:
Representatives from the Hospital’s IT Steering Committee visit Epic headquarters in Verona, WI, to discuss the project scope and contract.
AVH signs the contract with Epic. The hiring process begins to staff up the team responsible for implementing Epic. AVH posts 13 new jobs and gets more than 600 applicants.
The team is finalized. Members then begin the months-long process of becoming certified on Epic.
The Hospital holds an Epic Orientation Week for all staff to preview the system.
As the team successfully becomes certified on Epic, they begin building out the system. AVH uses Epic’s Foundation System as the basis, allowing for seamless future upgrades.
Numerous rounds of testing are conducted. The team thoroughly analyzes each component of the application, interfaces and hardware to verify connectivity and functionality.
Readiness teams are formed to confirm preparedness for the October 1 go-live date. These groups implement staff training programs, update policies and procedures, and train a Super User team to assist with the transition.
AVH begins holding Go-Live-Readiness Drills, an all-hands status review to pinpoint areas needing further evaluation and improvement. These drills continue every 30 days to ensure the Hospital is prepared for the launch.
Training ramps up for providers, clinicians and administrators. These activities include classroom training, user customization labs, proficiency assessments and more.
Testing concludes. Workstations are examined to certify each is ready to go live. Staff log in for the first time to ensure appropriate access.
Epic is officially released, making AVH the first independent critical access hospital in the country to have this world-class electronic health record system.