Epic EHR Implementation Takes Aim at Interoperability, Coordination

An EHR implementation at the Healthcare District of Palm Beach County is set to enhance interoperability for streamlined care coordination.

A new Epic EHR implementation at the Health Care District of Palm Beach County is set to boost interoperability between primary care clinics and rural hospitals for improved care coordination.

The EHR implementation serves 50,000 patients with C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics, which spans nine locations in at-risk communities. The new EHR will also serve more than 27,000 patients a year at Lakeside Medical Center, the healthcare district’s rural, acute-care teaching hospital.

“Our new Epic-based integrated platform provides best-in-class technology to meet the needs of our patients, many of whom have complex conditions and find it challenging to navigate the healthcare delivery system,” Belma Andri, MD, MPH, the district’s chief medical officer, said in a press release.

“With Epic, our providers now have a more complete picture of their patients’ health across the continuum of care right at their fingertips,” Andri continued.

The health IT allows clinicians to place orders remotely, gain immediate access to test results, and communicate with other providers and departments within the district for enhanced care coordination and clinical decision support.

“A consolidated patient medical record across clinical areas allows informed decisions to be made more quickly and efficiently,” said Karen A. Harris, the healthcare district’s VP of field operations. “Epic is a scalable system that allows us to effectively manage our volume of patient care across our programs, provide continuity of care, reduce duplication, and improve patient outcomes for years to come.”

The new implementation also provides patients with access to a patient portal where they can conveniently access their personal health information and communicate with providers.

“Our new electronic health record system is revolutionizing the way we operate at the Health Care District by providing patients with one continuous health record across all of our services, as well as access to their providers and medical record on ‘Connect PBC’, our patient portal,” said Patricia Lavely, the healthcare district’s VP and chief information and digital officer.

Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood partnered with the district through its strategic Epic Connect program, which allows care organizations to connect to a larger local hospital for access to the Epic EHR network.

This enhances interoperability with the nearby health system while also providing a lower cost EHR implementation.

“A partnership through Epic Connect, which Memorial offers, brings all healthcare providers – hospitals, community physicians and other points of care – into a single, comprehensive longitudinal patient record that stimulates joint collaboration, significantly benefiting the hosting organization, community physicians who are part of the extended network, and especially the patients they serve,” said Jeff Sturman, senior vice president and chief digital officer at Memorial Healthcare System.

“Memorial Healthcare System and the Healthcare District of Palm Beach County are committed to maintaining the health and well-being of our communities by empowering physicians and patients with all the resources required to proactively address medical issues in the context of population health through an optimal infrastructure that helps elevate the delivery of care,”

The year-long EHR implementation process took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am in awe of the great work that our 200+ team members and our partners with Memorial Healthcare have achieved during an unprecedented year in health care,” Lavely noted.

The 2021 Best in KLAS health IT rankings highlighted Epic Systems’ supremacy over its vendor competitors. Epic took home 11 Best in KLAS 2021 awards, including the Top Overall Software Suit for the 11th straight year and the Top Overall Physician Practice Vendor.  

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