Shared Health Records will be a Convenience to Patients who Travel
The Menominee Tribal Clinic in Keshena recently partnered with ThedaCare to upgrade its electronic medical records system to Epic software. The widely used electronic medical records platform effectively and efficiently connects health care facilities and providers to better provide a seamless continuum of care for patients.
According to Rod Boivin, information technology director at the Menominee Tribal Clinic and the project leader for the software cutover, the upgrade makes it more convenient for patients at the tribal clinic who must also travel to see specialists in Shawano, Green Bay or Appleton. Previously, the Menominee Tribal Clinic used a different electronic health record. “Even though it was electronic, it did not transfer data smoothly to other systems, so our people often relied on paper or faxed copies,” Boivin said.
All healthcare systems using Epic medical record systems can easily access each other’s records once patients give their approval. In addition to ThedaCare and Menominee Tribal Clinic, there are hundreds of other healthcare systems nationally using Epic, including Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Gundersen Health System, Aspirus System, Bellin Health, University of Wisconsin clinics and hospitals, and soon Community Health Network and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital.
Kevin Culhane, MD, the clinical director at the Menominee Tribal Clinic, can now see a more complete picture of the care that a patient has already received, whether in the ER or at another provider’s office. “Epic shows us the problems a patient has had in the past and the care he or she received. We eliminate the need to run duplicate tests.”
Dr. Culhane sees an advantage to less paperwork, too. “Having so much high quality up-to-date data at our fingertips means we no longer have to fill out request forms to obtain records that take days to arrive,” he said.
The accredited Indian Health Service Facility, established in 1977 at its location at W3275 Wolf River Drive in Keshena, had 7,500 patient encounters in March 2014 and 93,263 in 2013. The sweeping six-month software upgrade project was made more complex by the multiple clinics that are housed within the singular Menominee Tribal Clinic facility, including general medicine, radiology, lab, pharmacy, emergency medicine, dental, audiology, behavioral health, community health, diabetes, WIC/nutrition and women’s health services.
Future applications for Epic at the Menominee Tribal Clinic include patient access to individual medical records via an electronic portal. “This upgrade to Epic will pay dividends far into the future, for our patients and the providers who care for them,” Dr. Culhane said.
Epic is a Verona, Wis.-based company that builds electronic medical record systems. All ThedaCare facilities use Epic and Care Everywhere connects Epic records at different locations. There are security measures built in the system and entry is made in a patient’s record if another health system requests his or her records.
ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare isone of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.