After a year of behind-the-scenes hard work, Kootenai Health successfully implemented its new electronic health record (EHR), Epic, on March 12. This implementation was the culmination of more than 12 months of technical configuration and countless hours of staff planning and training.
This single, upgraded health record replaces 11 separate electronic health records, making patient care more secure, seamless, and complete. Epic is the preferred EHR system used by more than 250 health care organizations, including most health care organizations within 40 miles of Kootenai Health. This interconnectivity means all health care providers can efficiently share information – making seamless care, referrals, and transfers easier.
“Our new electronic health record system puts all of a patient’s information in one place,” Kootenai Health Chief Medical Information Officer Amanda Jackson, M.D. said. “When a physician is able to access a patient’s complete medical record, it makes patient care safer and more effective.”
One of the most beneficial features of Kootenai Health’s new EHR is its intuitive online patient portal called MyChart.
“MyChart allows patients to be at the center of the health care experience. Patients can register on their computer, or on a mobile app, and have easy access to their medical record online,” Dr. Jackson said. “Patients will no longer have to navigate different systems and logins. From therapies to primary care, procedures to test results – everything is in one place.”
MyChart includes many convenient features that were not available in past systems. Within the platform, patients will be able to securely message their care team with routine questions, view upcoming appointments, review discharge instructions, immediately view lab and radiology results, pay their bill and request prescription refills with a touch of a button.
“One of the best features is the instant access to test results,” Dr. Jackson said. “If you are registered for the mobile app notifications, you will receive an alert when there is new information – like a test result – the moment it is available.”
Dr. Jackson said it is important to remember that with this new speed, there may be instances when patients view results before their physician has had a chance to review them.
“We know our patients appreciate the speed and transparency in their care, which is why we are providing results so quickly,” Dr. Jackson said. “But sometimes there will be instances when the test result requires next steps in your plan of care. For these instances, our health care team is committed to getting back to patients as soon as possible, usually within one business day.”
Patients who are ready to use MyChart can ask for an instant activation code at their next Kootenai Health visit or log on to mychart.kh.org to register online.
“Our physicians love the comprehensive record, our patients love the user-friendly interface,” Dr. Jackson said. “It’s truly a win-win.”