2017 Annual Report: Technology Improves Patient Care
Building an Epic Framework
MaineHealth continues to build out our technology infrastructure to transform the way we provide care. Our health system made another leap forward in our efforts toward “one patient, one record” with the go-live of Epic, MaineHealth’s electronic health record (EHR), at Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) in March 2017. SMHC’s clinical and business teams worked in close partnership with MaineHealth Integrated Services to prepare for a smooth implementation.
One of the key patient care benefits of a shared EHR is that providers in different locations can quickly share important information to create a cohesive care plan — a benefit that pediatrician Donald Burgess, MD, recognized the very day Epic was implemented at SMHC.
Acute appendicitis is one of the most common emergency surgeries in children. Eleven-year-old Connor B. was unfortunately among the scores of Maine children who experience this medical condition each year. Fortunately, Connor is a patient of Dr. Burgess at Southern Maine Health Care Pediatrics and received excellent, coordinated care. Connor presented with all the telltale symptoms of acute appendicitis at SMHC’s Emergency Department in Sanford. Connor was immediately referred to Maine Medical Center for further evaluation. Through Epic, Dr. Burgess was notified about Connor’s diagnosis, able to monitor his progress and stay in touch with Connor’s care team before, during and after his successful surgery, and his discharge the next day.
Creating Efficiency Through Electronic Health Records
“This was all in real time. From the time Connor was seen at MMC, I was able to track his progress — from his ER visit to his transfer to MMC, to his surgeon’s consult, to his operative note after he went into the operating room, to his discharge summary,” said Dr. Burgess. “In the past, I’d often have to wait up to a week to receive this info. Most notes came through that night. I was able to schedule Connor’s follow-up visit right away.”
“Most of our specialists are in Portland and we were dealing with a lot of paper,” he added. “Having the electronic health record eliminates the paper and enables us to do follow-up care faster. The messaging system is great and eliminates Q&A telephone tag. Now when I have a question, I can message directly using Epic and get an answer quickly.”
MaineHealth’s continued implementation of Epic across our health system enables providers and care teams to save valuable time, improve information flow and increase efficiencies, allowing them to keep the focus on the patient, not the paperwork.