With Epic, everyone who needs to see a patient’s chart will see the same information, improving communication, collaboration, and safety. (Photos: UHN) *Some photos were shot prior to March 2020, when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
UHN is just seven weeks away from a new era featuring single source truth for each patient journey and the replacement of dozens of electronic and paper systems that don’t always “talk” to each other.
The Epic health information system (HIS) will launch on June 4, supercharging clinical transformation, improving patient safety and the clinical experience for patients and staff alike.
“Having Epic as the engine of UHN’s clinical transformation will enable today’s clinical activity and its future growth, while fostering patient safety and innovation for decades to come,” says Dr. Barry Rubin, Co-Chair of the Synapse Implementation Committee along with Terri Stuart-McEwan.
Implementing Epic is a significant part of bringing UHN’s 2019-2023 strategic priorities to fruition.
The project involves thousands of stakeholders contributing to decision-making on configuring the system to meet the unique needs of UHN. It is so significant to the organization’s legacy it was given the code name “Synapse,” which symbolizes the interconnections the outcome will create and promote.
“The Epic system has powerful reporting tools that will help leaders use data to make faster and better decisions about patient care, staff workload, service and safety improvements, and more,” says Dr. Rubin.
Clinical teams have been wanting a new HIS for years and the planning of the implementation began before COVID-19. While it has been challenging to keep the project on track during the pandemic, UHN made it a priority because improvements to patient safety can no longer wait.
For patients, the value and importance of being able to tell the story of their medical journey just once cannot be overstated.
“It means not needing to repeat their health history each time they meet a new care provider or visit a UHN clinic for the first time,” says Terri. “With Epic, the information is entered once and validated as needed, saving time and improving consistency and safety.”
The same is true for clinical information entered by the care team. Everyone who needs to see a patient’s chart will see the same information, improving communication, collaboration, and safety.
“Care teams will be able to spend less time on tracking down information, and more time on applying their knowledge and skills to each patient’s care and well-being,” Terri says.
Many patients at UHN have complex care stories spanning years. Transplant and cancer patients are just two examples of those who may visit numerous doctors, clinics and hospital sites on their care journey.
With Epic, unlike current systems, certain kinds of documentation can be entered on mobile devices and integrated seamlessly with the platform used for virtual care.
Epic will also be the engine behind myUHN Patient Portal, giving users greater access to their health information and an additional way to stay in contact with their care team.
As the implementation will change daily workflows for most of UHN staff, it has required a comprehensive training and practice program in advance of June 4, when dozens of current systems will be turned off and Epic will go-live.
“It has been a tremendous team effort,” says Dr. Rubin. “One we should proud of today, and one that will benefit the entire UHN community – patients, clinicians, support staff – for many years to come.”