L+M ready to 'go live' with new electronic records system
New London — With a ceremonial flip of an oversized switch, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital on Thursday celebrated the coming of the Epic electronic medical records system, which is scheduled to “go live” early Friday morning.
“The true winners here are the patients,” said Dr. Oliver Mayorga, who was introduced for the first time at the ceremony as the hospital’s new chief medical officer. “We’re extremely excited. The goal of health care is to provide safe and efficient care, and this Epic system helps us do that.”
Mayorga, 41, has been chairman of the Emergency Department since 2009. He replaces Dr. Daniel Rissi, who retired as chief medical officer at the end of 2016.
The installation of the Epic system is a key piece of the integration of L+M into the Yale New Haven Health network, said Lisa Stump, chief information officer for the network. L+M and its affiliates, including The Westerly Hospital, joined with the larger network in fall of 2016.
“This exemplifies the transfer that’s happening here, with L+M, Westerly Hospital and the L+M Medical Group coming into the Yale New Haven family,” Stump said. “This tends to be a unifying event.”
The Epic system, used throughout the Yale New Haven system, was installed at L+M and Westerly hospitals at a cost of about $30 million for software, training and support services, Stump said.
"We consider this a really big investment in the community," she said.
The new system replaces an older one used at L+M, and is the first electronic medical records system to be used at Westerly, Mayorga said. Paper files still were in use there.
Stump said “key pieces” of patient records are being transferred from the old system to the new. L+M will retain access to all records on the old system for two years. The Epic system, she added, meets all the federal requirements for “meaningful use” standards. Hospitals that do not meet those standards can be assessed financial penalties by Medicare.
Mayorga said the Epic system is the “best in class” for electronic health records, and allows doctors throughout the entire Yale New Haven system to communicate and access information. It also is able to share information with different systems used at other hospital networks, he said.
Lauren Williams, L+M vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, said 50,000 hours of staff training preceded the launch.
“So many people went the extra mile to get the training we needed,” she said. “Some of us may still grieve for those old paper charts we used to carry around with us in the units. We used to run around saying, ‘Who’s got the chart? Who’s got the chart?’ But this is just one more tool to enhance patient safety. We’re Epic ready.”
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