Jim Henkenius, CFO, and Sherry Lampe, clinical nurse IT director, provide training and support for staff in preparation of the March 29 go-live date for the new electronic health records launch.
Jim Henkenius, CFO, and Sherry Lampe, clinical nurse IT director, provide training and support for staff in preparation of the March 29 go-live date for the new electronic health records launch.
March 20, 2014



Lake City

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital is joining a network of over 350 health-care locations, many of them Unity Point affiliates, across the Midwest in implementing a new electronic health-record system called EPIC.

SMCH will launch the new system on March 29. The new computer charting system will provide an up-to-date electronic medical record of patient medical information that can be accessed wherever a patient receives medical care within the network of hospitals and clinics on the EPIC system.

Electronic medical records is expected to make the care patients receive at SMCH even better. First, current medical information will be at the medical provider's fingertips - no matter if care originates at SMCH or at another Unity Point affiliated hospital, McCrary Rost clinics, or even one of SMCH's Unity Point Health affiliates. Second, health information can be more efficiently shared between areas of the hospital that are involved in patients' care. Third, bar-code scanning technology will continue to be used for medications in order to better monitor safety in reducing and preventing medical or medication errors. Lastly, privacy and security of medical records will be improved.

Sherry Lampe, clinical nurse IT director at SMCH, describes the equipment upgrades and staff training required prior to the go-live date, "Training has been very intense for the last two months, and the staff has worked very hard at learning the EPIC system. We are all very anxious to get started. We have added computers to each patient room along with several new mobile computers."

In the near future, SMCH will offer an additional benefit, which is a free, privacy-protected website for patients and caregivers. The web-based portal called MyUnityPoint will help patients keep track of their personal medical history and test results. Registered users will be able to review lab and radiology results, their personal medical history such as their vitals, immunizations and providers seen. Additionally, patients will be able to request and keep track of clinic appointments, request prescription renewals, view current and past prescriptions, and send messages to and from their health-care team.

Initial visits to the hospital and clinics will require registration staff to input information into the new system for the first time. Patients are asked to bring their insurance cards and one form of identification, such as a driver's license. They may also be asked to provide their social security number.

"The process of putting in a patient's information does take time. We want to thank our patients in advance for their patience as we transition to the new system," says Jim Henkenius, CFO.

"Our goals are to continue to improve the quality of health care we offer," adds Henkenius. "Coordinating care for our patients, regardless of geographic location, equates to improving the quality of patient care."