Published on Thursday, February 8, 2018
Media Contact: Ruth Cummins
A new partnership between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the Mississippi Department of Health will link electronic health records, allowing more seamless care for Health Department patients who are also seen by providers at UMMC’s clinics and hospitals.
The joint management of clinical data, dubbed UMMC Epic Connect, is made possible through Epic, an advanced software system highly regarded nationwide as one of the best electronic tools in health care. Used by UMMC and many major health systems and academic medical centers, the fully integrated Epic system includes not only clinical information, but also registration, scheduling and billing functions.
UMMC Epic Connect allows UMMC to provide Epic to other health care organizations across the state. Its first customer is the Department of Health, which will transition to Epic from a combination of paper charts and an electronic scheduling system.
"In turn, this will create a clinical network that will help improve the patient care throughout the area,” said Kyle Brewer, Epic program manager for the Medical Center’s Division of Information Systems and for UMMC Epic Connect. "Overall, it helps to attain the larger goal of one patient, one record."
“With this electronic medical record and billing system, the department will have improved efficiency, better documentation, clearer communication and streamlined patient care, eliminating issues with multiple paper records for the same patient in different county clinics,” said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier.
“The Epic software really brings us into the 21st century,” Currier said. “This integrated system means no more paper files – all leading to improved patient service, stronger management and reduced administrative costs.”
How it will work: If an established Department of Health patient visits a UMMC provider, the Medical Center provider can access that patient’s Health Department records via Epic, providing a continuum of care and ensuring that both providers have a full picture of the patient’s health history. Likewise, if a UMMC patient visits a Health Department clinic, records in Epic can be accessed by the Health Department provider.
The same Epic system is utilized by both, but each separate system is customized for the particular entity’s needs and is built with the specifications for that particular health care practice.
The Epic software would not be possible without the collaboration of UMMC and the Bower Foundation of Ridgeland, Currier said.
“Working together with UMMC has certainly allowed us to more efficiently use our funds, but equally important, together we will improve health care throughout Mississippi,” Currier said. “We are especially grateful to the Bower Foundation for their support toward this major transformation for MSDH.”
Earlier this year, UMMC’s Division of Information Systems piloted UMMC Epic Connect in nine Department of Health clinics in central Mississippi, Brewer said. The program will go live in the remaining 77 Department of Health clinics statewide on Feb. 12. Division of Information Systems staff, including Epic experts, are administering UMMC Epic Connect and assisting with the integration of the clinical and business operations.
With the advantage of the UMMC Epic Connect project and the assistance of UMMC, the Department of Health will soon have a state-of-the-art electronic health record and practice management system.
Although its partnership is with UMMC and not Epic, the Department of Health is recognized as an Epic health care facility, Brewer said. The option within Epic makes it easy for UMMC to provide the department with access to the Epic tools, systems, integrations and various support methods required to deliver health care in the most efficient manner.
UMMC has used Epic for its electronic health records since 2012 and will soon roll out a significant upgrade to the system.
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