by Cindy Abole
personnel can provide a higher level of
patient care thanks to a new seamless and
efficient medical documentation system.
Beginning Nov. 1,
MUSC's adult and pediatric emergency
departments and Chest Pain Center will
launch Epic ASAP Emergency Department
Information System. It will allow
physicians, nurses and health care teams
to track patients throughout the course of
their visit within an emergency care
setting, allowing for faster diagnoses.
ASAP will be the
medical center's second Epic modules to
support the new electronic health
information system. Epic's Ambulatory EMR
system was successfully piloted and
installed throughout the enterprise this
assistant Kevin Harmon, Epic trainer
Lydia Diaz and Dr. Neil Glover,
Emergency Medicine, undergo Epic ASAP
training with Will Rublee,
Epic-credentialed ASAP trainer, Oct. 16.
For Epic training and information, visit
Physicians and staff
members at the MUSC Emergency Department
and the Epic project team have worked
collaboratively for several months on the
new system. Epic program executive sponsor
and chief medical information officer Bob
Warren, M.D., praised their commitment,
energy, teamwork and innovation. "The new
ASAP system being implemented throughout
our three emergency departments is the
next step in MUSC moving into one single
medical record for our patients."
Other Epic modules, now
in the design phase, are scheduled to
launch July 1, 2014. They include
inpatient clinicals for pharmacy,
radiology, labor and delivery, and
oncology, as well as OR and anesthesia,
and a "revenue cycle" for patient
registration, scheduling and billing.
Warren emphasized that
"we're all the designers," and he
encouraged representatives from all parts
of the MUSC Health community to own the
effort. Epic program administrator Melissa
Forinash is leading the effort.
Epic allows users to
manage patient records electronically by
replacing paper charts with electronic
records. More importantly, the system
allows physicians and staff to make better
medical decisions, set standards of care
and treatment protocols, and save money by
decreasing administrative costs. It also
provides real-time contacts with patients
through MyChart, the patient Web portal,
and with referring community physicians
through EpicCareLink, a module MUSC will
install in early 2013.
In MUSC's Emergency
Department, ASAP will offer customizable
secured access to information at inpatient
and outpatient clinics and ancillary
locations, and an intuitive workflow that
features menus, toolbars and command lists
for easy navigation.
"More importantly, each
member of the patient care team will see
and have access to the same information at
every step in a patient's care. In short,
we will see a better coordination of
care," Warren said.
As the Lowcountry's
only tertiary and quaternary care facility
qualified to provide the highest level of
medical care for the most compromised
patients, the adult and pediatric
emergency departments and Chest Pain
Center continue to experience record
growth in patient visits, according to
Christine M. Carr, M.D., medical director
of emergency medicine.
The adult ED
accommodates 150 to 170 patients per day
or about 50,000 visits annually. It's
estimated that all three emergency care
areas manage more than 75,000 patient
visits per year.
"It's difficult to
appropriately document the details of a
patient's emergency visit on pen and
paper. Epic ASAP will change things for
us," said Carr.
emergency medicine medical director Scott
Russell, M.D. is equally impressed with
ASAP's potential and functionality.
"Epic ASAP opens up a
whole new world of efficiency within an
electronic medical record system. It will
allow us to provide good reporting and
communication with staff, improves
accuracy and quality, and supports our
research initiatives in providing
evidence-based medicine approaches to how
we can improve care for patients."
To prepare for ASAP's
system launch, more than 1,400 ED staff
members have completed or are currently
undergoing training. Physicians, nurses,
patient care technicians and support teams
from other ancillary departments are being
trained to use the system and the
electronic medical records.
ASAP project director
and manager Brett Seyfried said his team
plans to overstaff during the transition
period with ASAP-trained nurses and
physicians. Additional Epic support staff,
credentialed trainers and area superusers
will provide round-the-clock support.
"Although our timeframe
for the Epic ASAP installation has been
aggressive, we haven't lost any of the
applications and functionality we knew we
wanted in place. We are set to go live
with a robust tool in our emergency
departments," Seyfried said.