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Epic Software: What Is It and How Can It Improve Care Efficiency?

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Epic Medical System

The medical world has always been obsessed with efficiency. How can we diagnose illnesses faster? Perform surgeries better? Get test results quicker? Technology has promised solutions to these dilemmas for years. The latest attempt is a software system called Epic. On the surface, Epic seems like a dream – a one-stop shop for patient records, appointment scheduling, billing, and more. So, let’s take a closer look at this software and see if it truly moves medicine in the right direction.

What is Epic Systems?

Epic Medical System is a big company that makes computer programs for hospitals and doctors. These programs help hospitals and doctors keep track of patient information and medical records.

The woman who started Epic Systems is named Judith Faulkner. She started the company back in 1979 in a basement! Back then Epic had only a few employees. But Judith had a big idea – she wanted to make programs that would help doctors and nurses take better care of patients.

Judith worked very hard for many years to make its programs better and better. Slowly more and more hospitals started using them. Today Epic has over 10,000 employees! The company is still based in Wisconsin, where Judith started it. Now Epic’s programs are used in many big hospitals all over the country.

How Hospitals are Using Epic Software System

In healthcare, we’ve reached the tipping point for electronic health records (EHRs). The inefficient, error-prone paper records – are giving way to a cure – integrated, accurate digital systems. Leading this transformation is Epic, whose software aims to synthesize and simplify patient data. Here is why is Epic the best EHR and how hospitals are leveraging it:

1. Centralizing Patient Records

Epic enables all of a patient’s medical data – test results, physician notes, medical history, and more – to be stored in one unified electronic health record. This gives all doctors involved in a patient’s care access to a comprehensive medical profile in one place, leading to better-coordinated treatment plans. The platform also has a patient portal to view their own records.

2. Streamlining Appointment Scheduling

The Epic Systems software makes scheduling doctor visits, procedures, and other appointments easier through its Cadence module. Patients can conveniently book appointments online based on provider availability. Doctors can also use Cadence to coordinate schedules with various departments like surgery and lab testing. This automation of scheduling increases hospital efficiency.

3. Facilitating Medical Billing

Billing in hospitals is an incredibly complex process involving multiple charge capture systems and insurance claims. Epic simplifies this by integrating billing directly into the electronic health record software. Charges are logged as clinical documentation is entered. Claims are also generated and sent electronically. This reduces billing errors and speeds up reimbursements.

4. Tracking Quality and Outcomes

Epic offers hospitals powerful analytics tools to measure clinical quality and patient outcomes. Doctors can monitor success rates for procedures, mortality figures, infection rates, and more to identify areas for improvement. It also has dashboards to track hospital operational metrics like bed usage, surgery turnaround times, and wait times.

5. Coordinating Across the Hospital

Perhaps most importantly, Epic links medical, financial, and operational data across the hospital into one unified platform. This gives administrators a comprehensive view of their organization for better strategic decision-making. It also allows for efficient collaboration between different departments – from the ER to radiology to pharmacies.

Also Read: A Guide to Healthcare Software Development

Main Advantages of Using Epic in Your Organization

The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) has revolutionized healthcare. And, Epic is used by over 250 million patients worldwide. It offers an integrated suite of software aimed at improving the quality of care and patient outcomes. However, simply installing the software is not enough. You need to leverage its full capabilities to transform your organization. Here are 6 tips on how to use Epic Hospital software to its maximum potential:

1. Ensure Provider Buy-In

A successful implementation requires provider adoption. Clinicians need to understand the benefits of EHRs and how Epic will make their jobs easier, not harder. Get input from doctors, nurses, and other staff during the rollout. Provide regular training and support to boost comfort levels. With proper change management, you can avoid physician resistance.

2. Utilize Analytics

Epic offers robust analytical tools to mine data and identify trends. Analyze medication prescribing patterns, patient demographics, costs, and more to gain insights. Look for variances across facilities and diagnoses. Share actionable reports with department heads to drive performance improvement. Use its data to guide evidence-based best practices.

3. Streamline Workflow

Epic allows customization to improve workflow efficiency. Build order sets, templates, and protocols to standardize repetitive processes. Set up protocols to ensure consistent care across the system. Optimize configurations to map to existing clinical workflow rather than disrupt it. The right customizations can boost productivity and reduce burnout.

4. Access from Anywhere

A cloud-hosted Epic EHR offers 24/7 mobile access on any device. Doctors can view charts and enter orders from home or their smartphones. Patients can check test results and communicate with their care team via the patient portal. Real-time access leads to more informed decision-making and patient satisfaction.

5. Promote Interoperability

To unlock the full value, seamlessly integrate Epic across the care continuum. Bidirectional data exchange with other healthcare entities improves care coordination. Patients benefit from a more connected ecosystem, rather than fragmented islands of information. Leverage Epic’s interoperability to build a more collaborative care environment.

6. Engage Patients

Use Epic’s patient portal to actively engage those you serve. Patients can schedule appointments, message providers, access health records and pay bills. Portal integration with MyChart allows document exchange and e-visits. More empowered and informed patients take a more active role in managing their health.

The Conclusion

Epic and other healthcare software suites promise big gains in efficiency. But effectively implementing these complex systems takes careful planning and expertise. Rushing into a deployment without considering workflow, training, and change management can result in productivity losses and frustrated staff.

The key is finding a professional IT consulting service that understands both cutting-edge software and the unique needs of healthcare organizations. If your organization is considering Epic or a similar enterprise software implementation, leverage our expertise. Contact us today to discuss your upcoming IT project. 

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