OMC makes ‘Epic’ decision

Sequim Gazette staff

Olympic Medical Center’s board of commissioners has made two Epic decisions.


During its Sept. 5 meeting, the board approved an agreement with Providence Health & Services Community Connect to implement a shared electronic health record (EHR) system known as the “Providence build of Epic.”


It’s a big item with a big price tag, including $1,593,160 for “software licenses, interfaces, conversions and storage” and another $6,061,875 for “software implementation.” Through the first five years of utilizing Epic, the medical center will pay approximately $750,000 annually for support services.


During its Sept. 19 meeting, the board agreed to pay another $1.5 million to purchase the required hardware.


OMC is projected to go live on the EHR in May 2013.


While the price tag is large, it will help the center meet federal Meaningful Use requirements, which should mean an additional $7 million in Medicare funding for OMC.


Any hospital that fails to meet Meaningful Use requirements by 2015 will receive Medicare reimbursement cuts and lose the extra EHR funding.


OMC is eligible to purchase Epic because it is now affiliated with Swedish Health Services, the Seattle-based health care giant.


Affiliation with Swedish pays off

Through the agreement, signed in 2011, Swedish has agreed to provide tertiary care for OMC patients.

Tertiary care includes those procedures that are beyond the scope of a small rural hospital system.


The board also anticipated the affiliation would provide a number of additional services that would benefit the local system, including access to Epic.


OMC CEO Eric Lewis has described Epic as “the best” electronic medical record-keeping product available, adding that 75 percent of Seattle-area hospitals soon will have Epic in place. Because OMC is relatively small, it was ineligible to purchase the system on its own.


Providence Health joined forces with Swedish in February, making the new agreement possible.


Lewis said, “Epic will replace a number of our current systems by providing a single database, enterprise-wide EHR that will benefit patients by putting the right information in the right hands at the right time.”


With Epic, patient health information — such as medications, treatment records and lab results — will be available to care providers in real time.


Patients also will be able to view their health records through an online patient portal, providing the opportunity for greater participation in their care.


While OMC is affiliated with Swedish Health Services, it remains an independent local health care system.

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