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June 1, 2022

Collection of patient information in Epic

We are days away from going live with a new hospital information system. It’s a huge step forward for how we deliver patient care at HHS. We have made some difficult choices, and it has been very challenging to stay the course given the situation we have faced during the last two years. Everyone at HHS has worked hard, and still there is much more to be done.

For example, some valid concerns are being raised about whether and when HHS will begin to actively collect race-based and other identifiers at patient registration using our new, hospital information system. The simple answer is yes, we are going to make full use of these features.

Beginning June 4, patients will be able to voluntarily add race- and gender-based information in to their electronic medical record via MyChart, Epic’s patient portal. Within a matter of months, or sooner if we are able, we will begin actively collecting this information as part of our standard patient registration process. Resources have been set aside to support the necessary additional engagement, planning, and training that is required to collect, use and manage this information safely. We also plan to coordinate our efforts with other hospitals in the region as we proceed.

Also, on June 4, patients will have the opportunity to provide their name-in-use, in addition to the name that appears on their health card, when they register at the hospital. This will help to prevent mis-naming of patients who use a name that is different from their legal name.

It’s been asked why the active collection of all identifying data wasn’t made a priority for launching the new system on June 4. Again, simply put, the size and complexity of this project has forced us to make difficult decisions about how much we can do at once. Going live with this system is a process that will extend beyond June 4. Our first priority is to ensure everything is functioning as designed. We’ve focused all our energy on that goal. It is the safest and most practical choice for everyone. There are a variety of important functions that will be possible to initiate once our workforce is familiar with their new ways of working in Epic. All of this has been anticipated within our project plan and is very close to being realized.

Dave McCaig, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs