Friday, August 16, 2013

MGH puts new system to the test

A year after Partners HealthCare partnered with Epic to design and configure its new enterprisewide electronic health record, the first phase of the Partners eCare system will be tested at the MGH. Over the next several months, representatives from the MGH and Partners eCare will analyze dozens of real-life scenarios to ensure it meets the needs of the hospital’s staff and patients.

One patient, one record

The MGH is one of the first hospitals in the Partners network to begin using the new Epic electronic health record system, called Partners eCare. Once complete, it will offer a single, integrated system that will replace most of the existing clinical and administrative systems at the MGH.

The overriding goal is “one patient, one record, one team, one Partners statement,” enabling patient clinical and administrative information to seamlessly flow anywhere within the Partners system. This is planned to improve coordination, reduce duplication of care, avoid unnecessary tests and support the nation’s urgent health care quality and cost imperatives. Partners eCare will be fully implemented throughout the Partners system by 2017, making it the largest program of its kind in the history of Partners.


Testing of the “revenue cycle” portion of the new system – which supports administrative tasks such as patient appointment scheduling, billing, coding and admissions – is expected to run through May 2014, with the system officially going live that July. The clinical portion of the system is scheduled to be in place by 2016.

“This is the first time we get to see the system come together,” says Olivia Roberts, Partners eCare program manager for MGH/MGPO. “We have worked closely with Epic, the Partners eCare teams and MGH leadership to develop patient scenarios that are specific and appropriate to our institution. It isn’t feasible to test every patient scenario, but our goal is to test the new system by putting it through as many scenarios as possible.”

The revenue cycle testing comes after months of validation sessions where more than 800 MGH staff shared their expertise to help guide, build and strengthen the new single patient record system. “Testing is the next important step in the process that lets us put the new system through its paces prior to bringing it inside the hospital,” Roberts says. “Later in the integrated testing process, we also will involve MGH site representatives, allowing us to introduce them to the new system prior to training, which is great exposure.”

MGH staff seeking more information can access and sign up for email alerts to receive important updates. 

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