Health systems see EHR capabilities as digital tool chest

An increasing number of large hospitals and health systems have been making the transition to an Epic EHR system in 2023, with many IT leaders saying it can provide new opportunities to facilitate access and for advances in digital health and artificial intelligence.

Cleveland-based University Hospitals just completed its transition to an Epic EHR system. The process, which converted 5.6 million patient records into a single EHR system, will provide new functionalities for the health system, according to David Sylvan, University Hospitals' chief strategy and innovation officer.  

"As only one example, with the new system we will be able to identify gaps in schedules and create opportunities for accelerated appointment scheduling," he told Becker's

He also said with the new EHR, University Hospitals will be able to glean data and insights to identify pockets of opportunity for process improvements and reveal areas to perhaps redeploy human and capital assets by virtue of opportunities to optimize.

Leaders from Pittsburgh-based UPMC, who on Sept. 5 decided to switch to Epic in a bid to consolidate its nine EHRs to one, also said the move would position the health system for advances in digital health and artificial intelligence.

"Epic's patient portal seems to be more mature than the other EHR vendors at this time," Rob Bart, MD, chief medical information officer for UPMC, told Becker's. "And being able to interact with patients directly via digital tools is very important to UPMC and our future."

Epic is the top U.S. EHR vendor by hospital market share and is now the "top choice for large organizations," with customers who have "most of the largest, well-resourced academic medical centers in the U.S.," KLAS Research reported in May.

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