Kingsport Times News Thursday, October 30, 2014

Local News Business & Technology

Wellmont transitioning to electronic health records

March 1st, 2014 5:02 pm by Hank Hayes

Wellmont transitioning to electronic health records

Trauma physician Corey Siffring said the Epic electronic health records system will gather information more quickly when split-second decisions need to be made in the emergency room. Times-News photo.

KINGSPORT — If you went to see a Wellmont Health System cardiologist or urgent care physician today, neither would be able to determine what happened if you were recently hospitalized at a Wellmont hospital.

But that’s changing. Wellmont has been working with a vendor for more than a year to create a single electronic health record (EHR) for all of its patients.

The vendor is Epic Systems, and physicians working at Wellmont have been undergoing intensive training to understand how Epic’s EHRs work and can be used in their practices.

“The catalyst for electronic health records in general has been primarily quality and safety so typically when you look at an old paper chart and you try and decipher a physician’s handwriting or even a nurse’s handwriting, you know that is when mistakes get made,” Wellmont Chief Operating Officer Tracey Moffatt said. “When hand offs between caregivers are not well-coordinated, that’s when mistakes get made. ... If you’ve had surgery or knee replacement and go see your primary care Wellmont physician, in the past that physician has not had really good open access to what happened to you in the hospital.”

Epic’s EHR went live with Wellmont’s physician group, Wellmont Medical Associates, in December, and it is scheduled to go live in Wellmont’s hospitals March 29.

The Epic training for physicians, Moffatt said, lasted anywhere from six to 18 hours depending on the specialty of the physicians.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday’s print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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