Starting next week, many patients across Northeast Georgia will find it easier for all their doctors to have quick access to their complete medical histories.
Longstreet Clinic in Gainesville said that on July 1 it will start using a new health information platform called Epic to share a single patient medical record with other providers that use Epic, including Northeast Georgia Medical Center, the Heart Center and Northeast Georgia Physicians Group.
“Epic is a game-changer from both a patient and clinical perspective,” Dr. Chad Cooper, a general surgeon at Longstreet who is co-chairing the Epic project.
“If you are a patient at more than one of the healthcare provider groups on Epic in our region, all your providers will be able to access the same shared health record,” Cooper said, “placing access to such items as medication lists, procedure lists, diagnostic results and past medical histories at their fingertips. Epic has the power to connect our patient’s medical care across our community like never before, creating a more seamless and improved environment of care.”
For example, when a Longstreet patient is seen at the emergency room at NGMC, the emergency room clinicians, physicians and providers will see that patient’s medical history, medications and previous treatment and will complete all documentation in the same chart during that visit in the ER.
Likewise, when Longstreet physicians see the patient in follow up and ongoing care in their office, they will be able to view all the information from the emergency room visit in the shared record, seamlessly improving the continuity of care between transitions of care, different sites and providers.
“Not only does our Epic partnership improve the health of our community by giving patients more access to information about their care,” Carol Burrell, president and CEO of Northeast Georgia Health System said, “it also creates a foundation for NGHS and Longstreet Clinic to continue working together to provide services that our patients and community need.”
The implementation of Epic will also let Longstreet patients use MyChart, a secure online patient portal that allows patients access to their medical record, make appointments, communicate electronically with provider’s offices, and pay bills. The free service allows patients 24-hour access from their computer or mobile device.
“MyChart is the patient portal platform already in use by NGHS that helps connect patients to their doctor or provider to manage their health,” Copper said. “When Longstreet Clinic goes live on July 1, it will sync our records in MyChart as well. So, patients of Longstreet Clinic who are already MyChart users through the Health System will automatically see our Longstreet providers and health information load to their accounts. And for new users, it will be an easy sign up process.”
Epic is the health care industry’s leading technology platform, and it’s used by the majority of U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked hospitals and medical schools. Northeast Georgia Health Systems implemented the program locally in 2017.
Longstreet Clinic has worked for 18 months on the implantation of Epic, involving more than 30,000 manpower hours in training.
“Longstreet Clinic has always been an early adopter of technology,” Mimi Collins, Longstreet’s CEO, said. “We implemented the region’s first electronic health record in 2001, and our physicians and staff have already followed and exceeded industry standards for conversion to Epic, putting us on track for a seamless launch for our patients, staff and providers.”