Full Conversion to New Electronic Health Records System Links Entire PAMF Care Network
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Mills-Peninsula Division has successfully converted their electronic health records system (EHR) to the Epic system.
In one highly coordinated effort, Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s (PAMF) Mills-Peninsula Division switched to Epic for managing patients’ electronic health records and the Epic practice management system for appointment scheduling and patient billing.
To prepare for the move to the new system on Oct. 1, 200 employees spent a weekend in September converting more than 12,000 patient appointments for office visits and ancillary services from October 2012 through December 2013 to Epic from NextGen (the Mills-Peninsula Division’s previous electronic health record system).
It is a major milestone for the medical group that was an early adopter of EHRs in 1999. The conversion of the Mills-Peninsula EHR means that all of PAMF is now on a single, all-Epic platform that integrates the electronic health records with business processes, such as registration, scheduling and billing, as well as introducing My Health Online to the Mills-Peninsula Division. The transition brings new conveniences for PAMF patients as well as consistent workflows designed to reduce errors and increase efficiencies.
“This integrated system will enable us to offer our patients the ability to go anywhere within our PAMF network for care and have their medical record and billing information follow them – in other words, true seamless care,” says Brian Roach, M.D., PAMF Mills-Peninsula Division president.
Mills-Peninsula Health Services is also on Epic so the records of PAMF patients in the Mills-Peninsula community who are hospitalized at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center are available to their PAMF physician in the hospital.
A version of the Epic system, called Community Connect, improves the coordination of care for PAMF patients with affiliated medical foundations and participating community physicians.
The cornerstone of PAMF’s e-health initiative is My Health Online, the free, personalized online health management system for patients that is connected with the Epic records system. Using My Health Online, PAMF patients can view key components of their EHR via the Internet or their mobile phone. Patients can use their account to communicate electronically with their clinician for non-urgent matters, see test results, schedule primary care appointments, receive personalized health reminders and more.
Patients of PAMF’s Mills-Peninsula Division are joining the more than 75 percent of active PAMF adult patients now using My Health Online to become engaged partners with their health care team.
“It is wonderful to be able to provide this health information technology ecosystem to the patients of the Mills-Peninsula community,” says Albert Chan, M.D., PAMF Chief Medical Information Officer and Medical Director of My Health Online. “Ultimately, it’s about patients and their families, not the technology or the apps.”
Linda Oberstein, M.D., a Mills-Peninsula Division Internal Medicine physician and physician champion for this EHR conversion, said, “I really like being able to communicate with my patients online. I can send results late at night when I would never call so my patients can have it available whenever they have time to view it.”
A 77-year-old patient of Dr. Oberstein’s responded to the first email she received from her doctor, saying, “Thank you very much! The results came through right before 8 o’clock. Never before has this happened to me and I love it. I think My Health Online is great. I can even see my records back to 2009! Thank you again for all your help and concern.”