During the past year, hundreds of MGH clinicians and administrators have been directly involved in the design and development of Partners HealthCare’s new enterprise medical record system. Called Partners eCare, this new system will allow for a seamless flow of clinical and administrative patient information anywhere within the Partners system. The MGH is one of the first hospitals in the Partners network to begin using the system, and over the next several months staff will participate in testing exercises to ensure it meets their needs and those of their patients.
In preparation for the system’s launch, MGH Hotline will publish a series of articles highlighting the project. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from staff and patients.
What is Partners eCare?
Partners eCare is a part of Partners HealthCare’s Strategic Initiative aimed at fulfilling the pledge to deliver the highest quality care to patients that is safe, effective, accessible and affordable. The goal of the Partners eCare initiative is to enable more efficient, more coordinated, more advanced patient care through the implementation of an integrated, enterprisewide electronic health and administrative information system across the Partners network by 2017. Once fully launched, the system will enable information to securely and seamlessly flow anywhere within Partners.
What is Epic?
Epic is the primary technology vendor for the Partners eCare system. Partners selected Epic because of its reputation as a leader in health information technology and its success working with some of the nation’s most respected academic medical centers and health systems. Other hospitals that work with the Epic system include Stanford, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Dartmouth-Hitchcock and New York University. Epic software will replace most of the existing clinical and administrative systems at the MGH.
What are the benefits of Partners eCare?
The goal of Partners eCare is “one patient, one record, one team, one Partners statement.” It will help us to improve coordination, reduce duplication of care, avoid unnecessary tests and engage patients in their own care. The hospital expects patients to see and feel a more seamless flow of clinical and administrative information – at the MGH and among other Partners affiliates.
When will the MGH begin using the new system?
The roll-out of Partners eCare at the MGH will be in two phases:
The first phase is called the “revenue cycle.” This system supports administrative tasks such as registration, patient appointments, scheduling, billing, coding and admissions. The revenue cycle portion of Partners eCare is expected to go live in July 2014.
The second phase in the Partners eCare launch is the clinical portion of the system, which will go live in 2016. This includes outpatient and inpatient medical records and computerized physician order entries, as well as dedicated applications for departments ranging from Pharmacy and Radiology to Obstetrics and Oncology. By supporting the day-to-day work of our clinical departments and programs, the clinical component of Partners eCare will help patient care teams manage high-risk patients, reduce readmissions, and better coordinate mental health, palliative care and other patient needs. Epic revenue cycle and clinical software will tie these functions and information together for the benefit of patients, caregivers and the MGH.
When will the other Partners institutions begin using Partners eCare?
The remaining Partners institutions will combine both the revenue cycle and clinical cycle into one roll-out that will be implemented incrementally across the network from 2015 to 2017.
Why is it important to make these changes?
The MGH remains dedicated to delivering world-class care to improve the health of our patients while also enhancing the affordability of that care. Partners eCare is one step in this process. It will help us to improve coordination, reduce duplication of care, avoid unnecessary tests and support our nation’s urgent health care quality and cost imperatives.
Who will be affected by the Partners eCare implementation?
It is important to know that the entire MGH community will have a role in Partners eCare. While this will have a more direct impact on clinicians and administrative professionals, all staff should keep well informed to ensure a smooth transition and to respond to any questions from patients, their families and the local community.
What are the key things I need to know right now?
Implementing the Partners eCare system is a major undertaking that requires a great deal of time, patience and training on the part of hundreds of MGHers. It is important to know that we can only achieve success with everyone’s active support.
How can I keep updated on Partners eCare?
There are several ways to learn more about the system. Talk to your manager or supervisor if you have questions; visit the Partners eCare website at https://partnersecare.partners.org/ and subscribe to Partners eCare email notifications by visiting the website and clicking on the “Sign-up for Email Alerts” box at the bottom of the website homepage. MGH Hotline also will continue to feature important information pertaining to the implementation and roll-out.
Read more articles from the 09/13/13 Hotline issue.