One of the greatest patient and caregiver frustrations is the need to constantly repeat vital patient information in medical records that do not interface. Lee Memorial Health System is now taking the next major step toward a system-wide patient record. With the upcoming conversion to Epic—our electronic health records (or EHR) system—we are implementing a technology that will enable us to deliver high quality patient care in a more coordinated and efficient manner.
Gulf Coast Medical Center will launch Epic on June 1. Cape Coral Hospital, HealthPark Medical Center, Lee Memorial Hospital and our outpatient centers will follow in the coming months.
A lot has been said about the advantages of EHRs—instant access to important information, elimination of duplicate paperwork and testing, cost saving capabilities and greater coordination of care. We know this is an important and exciting time for Lee Memorial Health System, but we must remember that some patients may feel leery about this new technology. If questions or uneasiness arise, please assure our patients that their information is secure, and that this technology is a vital step in our commitment to ensuring the safest, most efficient care.
“Health care is enormously information-driven,” says Mike Smith, Chief Information Officer. “Gaps in information can really affect what caregivers do. With paper records, you wind up with all this paper, which can easily be misplaced.” EHRs are not simply paper charts saved on a computer. They really are part of a comprehensive medical management system.
Implementing this program is and has been a huge undertaking. The Information Systems team, along with hundreds of involved staff and physicians, have been working diligently to ensure a smooth transition, as well as managing any program issues. Superusers have been trained to help onsite during go-lives. During the months and weeks leading up to our first go-live date, the IS team also has coordinated training for Gulf Coast Medical Center employees and physicians.
“We are ready,” says Holly Muller, RN, Vice President of Patient Care Services at Gulf Coast Medical Center. “Our team has been trained, we have practiced and we are excited. Our training helped us see the ways Epic will enhance quality, efficiency and safety as we serve our patients and our community. We know that Epic will change the way we do our jobs—but it will change for the better. We are ready for June 1.”
To help create a supportive environment during go-live, Human Resources has committed to a variety of helpful and stress-reducing resources, including relaxation spaces, onsite exercise rooms and chair massages, among other things.
We know that this is a significant change, but remember, we are all in this together.
To our staff at Gulf Coast Medical Center, you all are our pioneers in the conversion to Epic in our acute care setting, just as the primary care offices of Lee Physician Group and our emergency departments were previously. We wish you luck and appreciate your diligence in the weeks and months leading up to this important day... June 1!