DFW-based Methodist Health System adopts Epic Electronic Health Record to integrate patient records

The exchange of health information between patients and providers has come a long way in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) region, especially with the adoption of the Epic Electronic Health Record, but it still has a long way to go.

Earlier this year, Pamela McNutt, senior vice president and Chief Information Officer of the DFW-based Methodist Health System, launched the Epic Electronic Health Record (EHR) across the system’s 46 facilities, consisting of hospitals as well as teaching, specialty, and community practice clinics. The goal was to integrate patient records and allow patients to be on one portal. Prior to Epic’s implementation, the Methodist Health System used MEDITECH and NextGen but these did not always serve the system’s needs. McNutt explains, “[W]e really felt like we needed an integrated record. That was number one. Also, so many other people in the Dallas-Fort Worth region had Epic already, so physicians had experience using it.” With 190 million people on Epic worldwide and with most Texas providers already using Epic and its web-based service EpicCare Link, McNutt noted integration has become more accessible: “We are exchanging thousands of records every day. This exchange is happening with non-Epic providers, too.”

Of course, there are still improvements needed in the exchange of health information. Physicians are often burdened by the amount of documentation they need to do in addition to their regular practice. McNutt expressed hope that the Epic Electronic Health Record and other new technologies could assist with that burden on providers in the future, “whether it’s a tap-and-go-single sign-on with a badge, or using best practice templates.” She further added that IT systems need to be constantly upgraded to meet the changing needs of the healthcare market. Innovation is also key.

As the software company behind the Electronic Health Record, Epic is no stranger to innovation. For one, the company has introduced smartphone access to its software. It also offers programs to help patients know the risk of developing certain diseases, such as diabetes. As well, Sumit Rana, Epic’s senior vice president of research and development, imagines that tele-health will become an integral part of health care by 2018, allowing patients to participate in video appointments with their healthcare providers. Part of Epic’s success could be attributed to the fact that the company invests 50% of its operating expenses in R&D.

Did you know Epic’s R&D experiments are eligible for the R&D Tax Credit? If you are doing similar product developments like Epic, you could be eligible as well and can receive up to 14% of your R&D expenses. To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today.

Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE credits as well as CPE credits for CPA’s.  For more information please visit us at www.swansonreed.com/webinars or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.

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