Lourdes launches comprehensive EHRs

Lourdes, a member of Mercy Health, is the first in the region to implement a fully comprehensive electronic health records (EHR) system. This initiative, known internally as CarePATH, includes the leading EHR system, Epic, and will significantly enhance Lourdes EHR system currently in place in its ambulatory locations, improve care delivery and support the national trend toward population health management.
EHRs are the next step in the continued progress of healthcare that can strengthen the relationship between patients and clinicians. Instead of paper copies of the past, Epic/CarePATH will take a patient’s entire medical history, inpatient and outpatient visits, and assemble everything into one, single electronic file or electronic health record. That record will be viewable instantly by hospital staff on a Lourdes computer, by a Lourdes doctor using her iPad or other handheld device, or by staff on a computer in an office of Mercy Medical Associates, Lourdes network of primary care and specialist physicians. The data, and the timeliness and availability of it, will enable Lourdes clinicians to make better decisions and provide better care and customer service.  
The benefits of EHR are countless.
·        In addition to reading history, progress notes and results, EHR will allow doctors to view videos of a patient’s heart catheterization, see actual CT scans and mammograms, and more, another example of the efficiency of EHR that Lourdes is bringing to the greater Paducah area.
·        EHR will automatically update records every time a patient visits Lourdes or one of its outpatient locations or doctors’ offices. For example, if a patient visits his doctor’s office in the afternoon, the doctor would be able to see that he was in the emergency room that morning, for what reason, all his tests results and the treatment he was given. A paper chart can’t provide that kind of support and expedited care.
·        Epic/CarePATH includes MyChart, a secure online connection that enables patients to manage their health at any time via PC or a mobile app. Through MyChart, patients can request appointments, check lab results, refill a prescription, ask their doctor a question, view their child’s or dependent’s medical records, and provide information access to referring doctors. 
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the EHR can improve patient care by:
·        Reducing the incidence of medical error by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records
·        Reducing duplication of tests and reducing delays in treatment
·        Reducing medical error by improving the accuracy and clarity of medical records
Another significant benefit is the ability to provide timely health screenings, education and preventive care.
As the Affordable Care Act rolls out, the increasing focus is on population health management, or keeping large group of people healthy, because not only is it good for people, it also reduces healthcare costs.
The Epic/CarePATH implementation is the final phase of EHR at Lourdes. In 2011, Lourdes implemented EHR in its physicians’ offices. The final phase will bring all inpatient and outpatient services at Lourdes Hospital, Lourdes Medical Pavilion and the offices of its network of physicians, Mercy Medical Associates, into one integrated EHR system, the first in the region.
The implementation is expected to be completed by August 2015.