Epic is here! A historic day for HHS patients, staff and physicians
On June 4, Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) launched Epic, considered among the best hospital information systems in the world and used internationally by many top-ranked hospitals.
Epic is a fully digital hospital information system that replaces dozens of electronic and paper systems and eliminates time that hospital staff and physicians spend looking for information. For the first time, every patient’s medical information will be available in one secure place online.
Staff and physicians now have the ability to track a patient’s journey, beginning with their very first encounter at any HHS site, and share vital health information with patients, their families and other health-care providers.
“The launch of Epic is the largest patient safety and quality initiative in our history.” — Rob MacIsaac, president & CEO
Patients no longer need to repeat their health history each time they meet with someone at HHS. Their information is now documented in an electronic medical record at their first interaction and updated during the course of their care journey. Every member of the patient’s care team has access to the same information at their fingertips so that critical care decisions can be made safely and efficiently.
“The launch of Epic is the largest patient safety and quality initiative in our history,” says Rob MacIsaac, president & CEO of HHS. “It will greatly improve the experience for patients, staff and physicians, and most importantly, enable us to deliver care more safely. We are proud of the work that has taken place to ensure HHS remains at the forefront of leading academic, teaching and research hospitals in Canada.”
— Charissa Cordon, RN, EdD, CHE 🇨🇦🇵🇭 (@charissacordon) June 4, 2022
It’s good stuff! Easy to use and everything in one place, no matter which @HamHealthSci hospital I go to (I go to both the Juravinski Hospital as well as McMaster Hospital). I know it’s a BIG jump internally switching between MT and EPIC, but it’s definitely good for patients!
— Neil (@NeilHyndman) June 9, 2022
The road to launch day
Planning and preparation for Epic implementation took place over the last two years – the same time span as the global pandemic. “While the pandemic added a layer of complexity, it also highlighted that improvements to patient safety can’t take a back seat,” says Dr. Barry Lumb, executive lead for Epic implementation. “Our patients should be confident in the care that they receive at our hospital.”
Staff and physicians spent the last few months training for Epic’s launch, and now that the system is live they’ll spend the next few weeks fine-tuning and perfecting their use of the new system.
— Julie Matthews (@juliematthewsss) June 6, 2022
If you visited HHS for a medical appointment since the June 4 launch, you may have waited in line a little longer than usual at the registration desk. And the staff member may have said something to you like, “Thank you for your patience. We’ve just launched a new, fully-digital hospital information system called Epic, and we’re on a learning curve.”
Lise Diebel, a communications advisor with HHS, visited the Breast Assessment Centre at the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre earlier this week for a mammogram.
“There were two people ahead of me in line, and the clerk was really great about letting us know why the line was moving a little slower than normal,” says Diebel. “The technologist who performed my mammogram seemed very comfortable with the new system, and the actual procedure went quickly.”
MyChart portal a game-changer for patients
The many benefits of Epic include MyChart, a free, secure, online tool where patients can view test results, manage their personal health information, view medication lists, see appointment summaries, attend video visits and more.
Hamilton Health Sciences is encouraging all patients to sign up for MyChart. You’ll need a computer, tablet or mobile phone, to access the your information through a website link, or on an app that can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
“The clerk at my mammogram appointment handed me a MyChart pamphlet, with information on how to sign up,” says Diebel, adding, “There are several ways patients and their family members can do this.”
Lumb, the Epic project executive lead, calls MyChart “a game-changer” for patients.
“I’m excited to see how many patients take advantage of MyChart,” says Lumb. “This is a powerful tool that will help patients understand and keep track of their personal health information.”