A shared project between UC Davis Health and Marshall Medical Center has enabled the Placerville-based community hospital to transition to a new, state-of-the-art electronic health record (EHR) system.
The collaboration gives Marshall a new digital patient records platform that is faster, more accurate and secure, and allows for the sharing of patient information not only between Marshall's clinics, home health and hospital, but it also permits direct health information exchanges with UC Davis Medical Center and with the other health care systems that use Epic EHR.
The joint EHR project, which has been in the works for more than two years, began earlier this month.
“We are grateful for the expertise of UC Davis, without which we would not be able to make our new patient-centered electronic health record system a reality for Marshall,” said James Whipple, CEO of Marshall Medical Center. “We look forward to launching the new system so we can begin to realize the benefits of being a fully-integrated organization and modernize health care in El Dorado County for the ultimate benefit of the patients we serve.”
UC Davis Health has been a national leader in the implementation and use of information technologies, including a sophisticated EHR system that the health system has had in place for more than a decade. In the mid-2000s, it transitioned from paper records to a fully electronic clinical information system that includes digital clinical results and images, computerized physician order entry, sophisticated pharmacy systems, online documentation and care plans as well as a patient portal so individuals can access and manage their health records and exchange messages with specific providers and clinics.
“An important part of our mission is to share knowledge to improve health for all,” said Ann Madden Rice, CEO for UC Davis Medical Center. “By working with Marshall to implement its new electronic health records system, we’re enhancing patient care so physicians can have access to real-time patient data and information, which saves time, avoids duplicate diagnostic tests and potentially reduces clinical costs.”
The project with Marshall includes the “My Chart” patient portal, which gives individuals 24/7 access to their medical records and the ability to make clinical appointments and see test results online.
For Marshall clinicians, the new EHR system increases patient safety by improving the accuracy and completeness of clinical documentation, and providing automated guidelines, alerts and prompts regarding medications, as well as rules supporting “best practices” in clinical care. The electronic health record also advances the continuum of care by enabling health providers outside of the Marshall Medical system, such as UC Davis, to share secure online access to patient information.
Over the past year, IT teams from Marshall and UC Davis built and tested the new system. Last August, they began training staff and providers to use the platform, which went live in all areas of the Marshall clinical network – its clinics, hospital and home health – on November 1. The project included having UC Davis technical and clinical experts provide on-site support to Marshall’s physicians and other users as the new system gets up and running.
“The beauty of this agreement is that we are collaborating with UC Davis in a way that preserves our independence and provides up-to-date technology tools for our patients and our medical teams,” added Whipple. “It also benefits our patients who might transfer to UC Davis for specialty and subspecialty services like neonatal, burn and neuro-critical care.”
For UC Davis Medical Center, the project represents another example of its work with community health partners. Rice noted UC Davis’s Cancer Care Network provides clinical support and expertise at a number of affiliated sites in Northern California. Its physicians provide hospital support in the region. And its telehealth network helps connect local clinicians with specialists at medical center who can provide supplemental support via video conferencing when a patient’s case requires it.
“Shared efforts, such as the one we’re doing with Marshall Medical Center, are beneficial for everyone who is working to advance health for all,” said Rice. “Patient-centered care means sharing clinical information and expertise so that every patient gets the right care, at the right time in the right place.”