Pathways Launches Electronic Health Record System Epic

Pathways today launched the Epic electronic health record system, becoming the first home health and hospice agency in the San Francisco Bay Area to adopt Epic. The very large majority of users are hospitals. The shift to Epic will streamline the experience for patients transferring from Epic users like El Camino Hospital, Stanford Health Care, and University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to Pathways care at home. This highlights Pathways’ standing as a technological innovator in the home health and hospice field.

Traditionally, each new doctor or specialist that a patient sees creates another medical record. This results in multiple disjointed, incomplete, and sometimes unreadable paper records being faxed, hand carried, or mailed between several physicians or clinics. Among the problems this causes: patients often receive duplicate tests, delays in care, and conflicting prescriptions. The Epic system eliminates these barriers by allowing all doctors involved to see and share the same record.

“With the advent of digital technology, most major hospital chains and large physicians’ offices have implemented digital patient records,” said Pathways IT Director Brad Miller. “But different systems don’t allow for the sharing of information—they can’t talk to each other.” Epic allows doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers from any organization with Epic to access the same single patient record at other organizations that also use Epic. The result is a simplified, safer patient experience.

“We refer to the Epic system as a One Patient, One Record reality,” said Pathways CEO Barbara Burgess. “Epic creates a shared longitudinal record across a patient’s entire life, which improves overall quality and the accuracy of diagnoses and outcomes.” Burgess says this will result in a better care experience for Pathways patients.

Burgess added that this is part of a larger initiative at Pathways to enhance patient-centered culture—a culture that always puts patients’ wishes first and forms a plan of care around the patient’s health goals. “From our first conversation with a patient to our last nursing visit, Pathways makes patient wishes the core of our care.”

Other organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area that have implemented the Epic system include Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Contra Costa Health Services, John Muir Health, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, Sutter Health, and UC Davis.

The Epic implementation process takes approximately one year, and necessitates extensive staff training. Pathways has been working closely with El Camino Hospital and Epic to meet these built-out needs and to train staff on the new system in anticipation of the November 1 launch.