Navigating today’s increasingly technological world can be incredibly complex and frustrating.
Unfortunately, health care is no exception.
Currently, patients must navigate numerous patient portals, billing systems, logins and passwords to manage their medical appointments.
To help create a seamless, safer and more consistent health care system for all patients in our community, Kootenai Health is in the process of upgrading its electronic health record (EHR) system. This massive undertaking will elevate almost every aspect of Kootenai Health, including more consistent patient care protocols, consolidated billing and faster test results reporting.
Kootenai Health is moving to a system called Epic, the preferred EHR system used by more than 250 health care organizations nationwide, including most health care organizations within 40 miles of Kootenai Health. This means health care organizations can efficiently share information – making transfers and referrals safer and easier.
Kootenai Health and Kootenai Clinic have multiple separate electronic health record systems, making it difficult to keep all information consistently up to date.
“As Kootenai Health continues to grow, consolidating our current different EHRs into a single premier platform is one of our top priorities,” Ryan Smith, Kootenai Health CIO, said. “The upgrade to Epic will improve quality of care, lower the cost of care and meet the growing demand of the communities we serve.”
By moving to one platform, patients and providers will have access to all information in one place. This single repository and interactive patient communication tool prevents errors and enables patients to access their health care information, prescriptions, appointments and more with a single login.
“Epic will significantly improve the patient experience with greater coordination between all members of the health care team at all levels of care,” Smith said.
The magnitude of the project cannot be overstated. At launch, the Epic implementation will have required more than a year of work, with more than 200 employees dedicated to testing, transitions and training.
“It truly is an amazing feat,” Smith said. “And this work is all in addition to managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Our employees have truly gone the extra mile to make this implementation a success.”
Kootenai Health plans to launch the new Epic system in March 2022. Once implemented, patients will have access to their personal medical record through the MyChart website or mobile app. Through the site, patients will be able to quickly contact their health care team via portal message, have faster access to test results and see all billing information in one place.
“Although it is behind the scenes, this project will have immense benefits for our patients and our communities,” said Smith. “With everything in one place, care becomes safer, more efficient, and seamless.”