Tower Health has completed a major step to becoming a fully integrated hospital system. Tower Health hospitals and physician practices are now operating with the same electronic health record (EHR) system — Epic.
Within Epic, the medical record will include: medical history, test results, plans of care, medications, allergies, immunizations, health maintenance for preventive care, family medical history, scheduled appointments, upcoming tests and procedures, health summaries and patient education, according to Michelle Trupp, senior vice president and chief information officer for Tower Health.
“A single, shared EHR will bring patients’ health information from Tower Health hospitals and physician practices into one record, which will in turn lead to enhanced clinical decisions, outcomes, and a seamlessly coordinated patient experience,” Clint Matthews, president and CEO, Tower Health, said in a press release. “This will drive standardized practices, protocols, and care expectations, while also fostering timely communication between providers, patients, and their families.”
Reading Hospital and its affiliated Tower Health Medical Group practices have been using Epic since 2013. Over the past two years, Tower Health teams worked to prepare for the launch of Epic at Brandywine, Chestnut Hill, Jennersville, Phoenixville, and Pottstown Hospitals, as well as an additional twenty-five Tower Health Medical Group physician practices.
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According to Trupp, the implementation of the Epic system was an important step forward.
“Ultimately, patients and the Tower Health communities benefit by having physicians sharing best practices and using a common platform for caring for patients, eliminating redundancies, ensuring high quality results and enabling patient access to their records and results in real time,” she said in an emailed response to questions.
Trupp said that the single, shared electronic health record will lead to “more informed clinical decisions, improved outcomes and seamlessly coordinated care.”
With this implementation, Tower Health became the first Epic user in the country to implement Epic’s most recent software enhancements providing users with access to the most advanced version of the Epic platform.
The first phase of the project, according to the health system was to replace and “significantly” upgrade the network infrastructure at the facilities to meet Tower Health standards and provide a consistent user experience.
Once the network infrastructure upgrade was completed, the system was designed, built and tested. In the training phase, team members completed “countless hours” of training through nearly 1,200 training classes with more than 4,500 trained new users prepared for implementation and launch, according to Trupp.
Once the go-live phase is complete, Trupp said Tower Health will implement enhancements and will upgrade the platform quarterly. In addition, she said work will continue to integrate the technology at Tower Health Urgent Care and Tower Health Home Health.
In conjunction with the launch of Epic, MyTowerHealth has also been introduced across the Tower Health footprint. The secure, password-protected, online and mobile-friendly patient portal gives patients online, real-time access to their health information including medical history, appointments, medications, lab test results, and more from any Tower Health provider.
Trupp added that because the tool can be accessed on mobile devices, individuals can “take charge of their own health and carry their record with them wherever they go.”
To learn more about MyTowerHealth visit MyTowerHealth.org or call the MyTowerHealth Service Desk at 1-855-827-0346 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The Berks County-based Tower Health owns six of the region’s hospitals including: Brandywine Hospital in Caln Township; Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia; Jennersville Hospital in Penn Township in southern Chester County; Phoenixville Hospital in Phoenixville; Pottstown Hospital in Pottstown; and Reading Hospital in West Reading. Tower Health also includes Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing; Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences in West Reading; home healthcare services provided by Tower Health at Home; and Tower Health Urgent Care — a network of 22 urgent care facilities across the Tower Health service area.
Date: August 12, 2019
Source: The Mercury