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EPIC On The Move: July 10, 2012

Streamlining patient care and information - those are major benefits to using electronic medical records. The switch from paper to paperless is a huge undertaking.

Every time Dr. Rabia Khan makes a house call, she has all of her patient’s medical records at her fingertips.

“I can pull up everything that happened in the hospital. Then when I document, I send it all to their PCPs and their specialists so they know what’s going on too,” says Dr. Khan, a fellowship-trained geriatrician with Lee Memorial Health System.

It’s part of the sweeping change to electronic medical records. Lee Memorial Health System invested $70 million in a paperless records system called EPIC.

“EPIC is an electronic health record and it’s really the only product that’s available that will store patients’ records electronically and provide the functionally needed not only for hospitals but also for physician offices and for home health and other care delivery settings,” says Mike Smith, Lee Memorial Health System chief information officer.

EPIC is on the move. A year ago Gulf Coast Medical Center was the first of the health system’s four hospitals to make the switch. Other locations continue to go live, upgrading patient information.

“This is a next generation, more capable, electronic record. And it also is one that will allow the very same electronic record to be used across different care delivery settings,” says Smith.

As Dr. Khan takes her office on the road, visiting homebound or high-risk patients, part of her challenge is to inventory their prescription drugs to make sure there are no medication mix-ups.

“And since we do document in EPIC, we compare the list of what the docs in the hospital wanted the patient to be on, to what they’re actually taking,” says Dr. Khan.

With information only a mouse click away, electronic health records are proving to be a good blend of the inpatient and outpatient world.