In addition to streamlining patient care, Epic enhances patient safety at Methodist.
With Epic, treatment orders, medication orders, and documentation are entered directly into the Epic system, greatly reducing the chance of miscommunication and misinterpretation. Prescriptions are sent to pharmacies electronically. As a result, a patient’s safe care need not be jeopardized by the legibility of a medical professional’s handwriting.
No matter where patients go within the Methodist Hospitals system, their entire history, including allergies, medications…everything… can be immediately accessed. Epic delivers automatic alerts to warn of drug allergies and potential interactions or complications when a medication is initially prescribed. Often, patients are prescribed different medications by different doctors, which can cause problems. Epic performs “behind the scenes” work that will detect potential interaction issues or possible complications.
Before administering medications, nurses scan the medication and also scan a bar-coded wristband that is worn by the patient.
When a nurse scans a patient’s bracelet, he/she instantly knows the right medication and the right dosage and confirms that the patient matches the EMR (Electronic Medical Record). As a result, EPIC allows nurses to concentrate on patients wants instead of just their needs
An additional patient safety benefit lies in longevity of the patient’s medical record. With the old paper system, medical records need only be kept for 10 years while electronic records remain with a patient for life. If, for example, a patient has had a reaction to a medication more than 10 years ago, that information may easily get lost in paper records. With Epic, a doctor can readily see that and decline to prescribe a medication that is in the same family.
From an institutional standpoint, Epic allows us to track incidents that raise safety issues. Every instance is charted and sent to our Quality Department for evaluation, a great help in our goal of continuous quality improvement.