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Health Care

Electronic Medical Records Systems Get Upfit, Enhancements

By Vicky Janowski, posted Jun 9, 2014
Wilmington Health plans to go live this month with a major overhaul of its electronic health records system, according to practice officials.
 
Targeting a mid-June deadline, the practice is switching to a system from Pennsylvania- based NextGen HealthCare. It’s an upgrade from the system Wilmington Health first implemented 10 years ago, said Jeanne Benfield, associate director for Wilmington Health who has been part of the core team working on the conversion for the past 18 months.
 
“It is more robust software,” she said, adding that existing patient information would be moved over from the former system. “It does a better job of capturing some of the patient information, specifically patient complaints. It also interacts with practice management systems, reducing cost-of-care sharing across the board.”
 
Officials said the program would enhance coordination of patients’ care between providers, securely store patient information and manage population health.
 
“To continually improve the quality of care we provide, we must integrate the latest technology into our services,” Wilmington Health CEO Jeff James said in a statement. “As the largest multi-specialty provider in the area, we require an EHR [electronic health record] that lets providers communicate with specialists while keeping patients in the loop on their care. The new NextGen Healthcare EHR will help accomplish these goals.”
 
New Hanover Regional Medical Center, which two years ago rolled out its electronic health record system from Wisconsin-based Epic, continues to expand its patient portal called MyChart.
 
The hospital this summer is expanding access to MyChart to inpatients, so that they also can log onto their account and see their records while at the hospital, getting information such as updates to medication changes or discharge instructions.
 
Patients being seen at other points in the hospital’s health system have been able to see their medical information.
 
“All of our NHRMC Physician Group practices now have access to the ambulatory part of Epic,” hospital spokeswoman Martha Harlan said, adding that Glen Meade Center for Women’s Health, which became the most recent practice to join NHRMC Physician Group, also will tie into the Epic system soon. “This continuity of care from practice to hospital to urgent care is a lot more seamless now with MyChart.”
 
Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center also is in the process of implementing its new electronic health records system.
 
Winston-Salem-based Novant Health is rolling out its system, also by Epic, to its hospitals and outpatient locations statewide. All of the local Novant Health medical groups have implemented the Epic system and MyChart patient portal, Novant spokeswoman Amy Myers said. She said the Brunswick hospital is scheduled to go live on the system next summer.
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