PLAINS- According to Russell Logan Executive Director of Customer Service for the Clark Fork Valley Hospital in Plains, the facility recently overhauled their computer system, implementing software that will forever change the way patients in Sanders County receive health care.
The new software designed by a firm known as Epic headquartered in Wisconsin, aims to improve the patient experience and streamline services to enhance the assistance afforded by health-care providers. The software was installed on August 2 and is fully operational.
The software will allow information about a patient to be more readily available and accurate for health care providers. The system will even allow those without prior knowledge of a patient to be immediately updated as to their medical history.
“Say you are traveling out of state and you were in an accident,” said Logan. “Before, medical professionals had to wait for information. Now the attending physician will have access to the patients’ medical history right away.”
Logan said information will still remain private and secure. He said it will only be available to those who need it.
Through the integrated “Mychart” application, patients will also have greater access to information. Patients will be able to track past and future appointments, prescription information as well as ask questions of care providers.
According to Logan, implementation of the new software was relatively easy to accomplish. No new hardware such as additional servers was necessary and the set up was handled by Epic. He said most of the work at CFVH to implement the new system involved training staff.
“Nurses are actually interacting with the patient and a computer in the room,” said Logan. “There is very little backlog now. Everything is immediately updated. When you walk out of the hospital it’s done. There’s no wait for information.”
Logan said the benefit is for the patient as well as health care providers. Information will be at the fingertips of staff with access to better, up to date information. In the past, patient information had to be looked up in large binders full of records. The Epic software provides more accurate medical records for staff to utilize.
“The new system will also provide a more satisfactory experience from a customer service standpoint,” said Logan. “We can address any concerns regarding costs. All the information is in one spot so we can access that in the case of questions.”
This feature should provide patients with an improved billing experience. Patients will now be able to request a consolidated statement that has all billing information on one document. He said this should make the billing process easier for patients to understand.
Logan said that in addition to these features, the software will also allow patients to access libraries of information about their specific diagnosis and treatment options. There are several libraries already in place and more are planned for installation to the system.
“For our patients it puts their information in front of those who need it,” said Logan.