When Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) new hospital information system, called Epic, goes live this summer, it will be a huge improvement for patients with high-risk pregnancies, their healthcare providers, and their new -born. (File photo)
Patients in high-risk pregnancies have a lot to watch out for. From scheduling additional appointments and tests to developing a special care plan for the baby’s arrival, the information can be overwhelming.
HHS’ McMaster University Medical Center (MUMC) is home to one of Ontario’s largest labor and delivery programs and shares its campus with McMaster Children’s Hospital, providing ongoing care for newborns in need of hospital care after birth.
With the new Epic system, families and their healthcare providers will have peace of mind knowing that parents’ medical information is available to anyone who needs to access it, even if they are in different areas. from the hospital or in our organization. In addition, the plan for the patient and the baby is clear to everyone involved.
More paper maps
“Epic reduces the need to extract information in many different areas,” says Shasta Cividino, clinical manager for labor and delivery. “Having one system and one record will give the healthcare team the information they need at their fingertips, at any point in the pregnancy continuum.
Notes and information from community healthcare providers who may not have access to Epic, such as family physicians, community obstetricians, and midwives, can be sent and then scanned to the hospital and then archived in Epic , so they also live in the same place.
Dr. Ann Marie Chen is a Community Obstetrician/Gynecologist giving birth at MUMC. She looks forward to the new system, to improve the way she finds information while on call.
“Now to review a patient’s chart, you have to access multiple systems to find results,” she says. “But with Epic, you can just look in one place and never have to find the paper map in an office – because that’s where all that information is.”
Although Chen’s office will not have the new system installed, she will still be able to view patient information, submit paper orders remotely, and upload patient documents directly to Epic.
The information is accessible to the entire healthcare team
Since MUMC is a tertiary center – meaning the hospital provides highly specialized staff and equipment – it is common for patients to have more complex needs and be seen by multiple specialties.
Not only are patients going to the hospital more often, but they are going to different clinics. Epic will make it easier to see the big picture of a patient’s situation where it might otherwise be difficult to interpret.
Before a baby is born, the pregnant mother will contact her family doctor, obstetrician/gynecologist and possibly teams to plan her child’s health after birth in case of any complications. The parent may need specialist support in areas other than women’s health, such as medical units or endocrinology, if they have another medical condition.
During childbirth and postpartum, they may receive care from doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, lactation consultants and social workers.
They may also meet with teams to care for their newborn, such as the neonatal intensive care unit.
And after birth, labor and delivery details will continue to be available during follow-up care.
“The frequency of outpatient visits is high in this population, so there are a lot of notes floating around,” says Cividino. “With Epic, ratings from all the different health services can be accessed when a provider needs to review them. When you have multiple providers influencing a patient’s outcomes, it’s important that the information is accessible to everyone. »
Connect parent to baby
Currently, the parent’s record and the baby’s record are two separate documents that require the provider to record information individually. With Epic, the parent theme will link to the newborn theme and stay connected until the child is 12 years old.
“The connection of the obstetrics program to our neonatal intensive care unit is essential, so that the children’s hospital will have all the information they need to care for the newborn in intensive care,” explains Cividino.
Providers caring for newborns will be able to access the plan developed by pediatric specialists and attached to the parent’s file, even before the child is born. The child’s providers can understand what the plan was for the baby and they don’t have to duplicate a care plan because they can see what the parent’s record says.
“They can see all suggested tests and activities and review notes from their parents’ clinic visits,” Cividino adds. “Previously, this information was buried deep in the parent’s file. With Epic, there is better translation from the planning done during pregnancy to the newborn care we provide in the hospital.
Epic will also give patients online access to their own records and their children’s records — so they can see what their healthcare team can see. They can access charts, discharge summaries, delivery slips, hospital appointments and more by signing up for MyChart, Epic’s patient portal.
MyChart by Epic is a free and secure online tool that makes it easy for patients to access their HHS health record anytime, from anywhere. Patients can securely view test results, enter personal health information, and attend video visits.
Patients can also enter information into the system to update medications, allergies, contact information and more.
“With Epic, the MUMC care team will have all the information they need at their fingertips instead of having to search for it in different charts,” explains Cividino, “and parents will be able to follow and be directly involved in their care, throughout labor and delivery and beyond.
HHS will go live with Epic and MyChart on June 4, 2022.