Hospital embarks on 'Epic Refuel Project'

EHRs have vast capabilities, and most health systems aren't optimizing their investment simply because they haven't realized the full potential of the technology.


That's why Yuma (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center is spending the next year on a new initiative: the Epic Refuel Project. Bharat Magu, MD, chief medical officer of Yuma Regional told Becker's the biggest opportunity the hospital has to lower costs is refining its EHR and enterprise system to optimize efficiency.

"The project is set to conduct an extensive examination of the existing EMR framework and its connected processes, identifying and eliminating any that are unnecessary, ineffective, or that contribute to administrative strain," he said. "This endeavor will encompass a thorough evaluation across various domains, including clinical operations, financial management, revenue cycle and support services."

Dr. Magu expects the Epic Refuel Project to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

Yuma Regional isn't the only health system examining its EHR as a mechanism for streamlining processes and cutting expenses next year. Memorial Hermann in Houston is making big moves to optimize the EHR and technology platforms.

"I see our most significant opportunities for reducing expenses over the next three years in several key areas," Michael Bublewicz, MD, vice president and chief medical officer of emergency and urgent care services at Memorial Hermann, told Becker's. "Our enterprisewide transition from Cerner to Epic is anticipated to streamline processes, improve interoperability and ultimately lead to significant cost savings."

Advanced technology and integrated applications will also make a difference for clinical workflows and operational efficiency. Kenneth Altman, MD, PhD, chair of the department of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery and professor at Geisinger in Danville, Pa., said proactively investing in meaningful technology and EHR upgrades will be critical.

"With computing power doubling every year and a half, we're at a crossroads where we can truly employ clinical pathways integrated into the EHR in real-time to deliver the most effective best practice," Dr. Altman told Becker's. "We know our community and patients better through investing in population health research. Business analytics is also benefiting from new computing power, which may result in shifts in our administrative workforce."

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