A little Rx on patient medical histories could save lives

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - A new medical record system at Regional Health could have potential life-saving effects, according to a Regional Health doctor.

According to a 2016 Johns Hopkins study, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of patient deaths.

Those mistakes can be made because of a lack of a patient’s medical history on hand.

Regional Health launched EPIC, a new digital information system that has all of a patient's information in one place. Previously, records weren't easily shared from one facility to another within the network.

"We had issues with the communication of information and caregivers and providers not knowing the full story when they were trying to provide patient care,” Said Dr. Stephanie Lahr, chief medical information officer for Regional Health. “So EPIC will take all of those records and put them in one place together."

Under the new system, a patient seen at Regional Health in Spearfish who finds themselves at the hospital in Rapid City will already be in the system and a care giver has full access to medical records.

"Providers are spending less time looking for information they couldn't find and are able to make better decisions," said Lahr.

Working with EPIC is MyChart, a portal where patients can access all of their information. Within the portal, patients can review information, schedule appointments, and even pay bills, all in one place.

"We use to have five portals, information was not in the same place,” said Lahr. “So this will be fantastic. One place to go for all of their information."

Lahr did say they ran into a few glitches with MyChart, but those will be fixed.

They have a 24/7 IT team ready to help patients with MyChart and help caregivers with operating the new system.