Baptist Minor Medical Centers and Baptist Medical Group clinics throughout the metro-Memphis area, West Tennessee and Mississippi started 2014 with a new electronic health record system, dubbed Baptist OneCare. The new system, developed by software vendor Epic Systems, uses one database for a single patient record that both patients and providers can access.
The transition to the new EHR started on Wednesday, Jan. 1 for minor medical centers and Thursday, Jan. 2 for BMG groups. It marked the first phase of Baptist entities going live with this new way of documenting patient care.
“I told staff today is no different than Monday and Tuesday,” said Theresa Stewart, practice manager and LPN at Baptist Medical Group-Collierville Internal Medicine. “You’re still as smart as you were then. You’re still as efficient. And the bottom line is, we know how to take care of patients. You’re just going to document it differently. That’s the only difference.”
Stewart’s pep talk, along with the support of the clinic’s providers, has helped the staff remain positive about the transition, which has gone remarkably well for a project of its size and scope.
“So far, everything’s gone fairly smoothly,” said Stewart. “We’ve had a few minor issues or setbacks. But luckily we have the Baptist OneCare team so they’re quick to reply and stay on top of everything that we call in about, which is really nice.”
The Baptist OneCare team consists of credentialed technical support staff who can answer questions, troubleshoot issues and help solve any software problems. The team responds to trouble calls within 30 minutes, which has kept delays to a minimum and patient care at highest capacity even when technical issues arise.
“There were a couple of kinks,” said Heather Jennings, customer service coordinator with Baptist Medical Group-Finn Medical Associates. “It was just little kinks, and they all got answered very quickly—within 30 minutes. Whenever we called in, it was literally 30 minutes and it was working.”
The quick response from the Baptist OneCare team, along with the staff training provided prior to go-live, has contributed to the smooth transition. Additionally, many clinics have superusers—staff members who received extra training to serve as a resource to other staff and a liaison with the Baptist OneCare team.
Jennings’ group, which usually sees 80 to 90 patients a day, saw 50 patients with an average wait time of 20 minutes on the go-live day.
“We did good, really good,” said Jennings. “I was really impressed.”
Immediate benefits of the EHR have included more thorough documentation, instant insurance verification and a single operating system for front desk and nursing staff. Patients have expressed excitement about MyChart, the free application that allows patients to view their records, schedule appointments, refill prescriptions and message providers from mobile devices or computers. And clinic staff members are looking forward to using this new app and other features of the EHR to provide more efficient and better care.
“It’s exciting,” said Stewart. “We’ve been waiting and ready. We’ve been preparing for this for about a year.”
Stewart also is looking forward to the additional features that will be available once hospitals go live. Metro-Memphis hospitals, including system flagship Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis, are slated to go live on March 11. By the end of the transition in 2015, all 14 Baptist hospitals, 15,000 Baptist colleagues and 4,000 affiliated physicians will be affected.