HAZEN, N.D. — On April 1st, Sakakawea Medical Center (SMC) and Coal Country Community Health Center (CCCHC) will launch Epic in the medical center and primary care clinic location sites. Epic is the most widely-used and comprehensive electronic health records system and provides a platform for integrated care to ensure patients have convenient digital access to their health information.
Epic will make it easier for our providers and staff to communicate and access the information they need to care for our patients, says Darrold Bertsch, CEO of SMC and CCCHC.
Having an integrated system builds on our core mission of putting the needs of patients first and Epic allows us to consolidate onto a single, shared platform for patient care.
Epic is used by a majority of North Dakota tertiary hospitals and specialized treatment sites and with the implementation of Epic, not only will providers be able to provide better care locally, but when a transfer to a higher level of care is necessary, providers will have the capability to deliver efficient, meaningful data with transfers closing care gaps, and reducing duplication. Medical records will be immediately available upon transfer and again when the patient returns home to the care of their primary provider. All organizations using Epic interoperate, which means they can easily exchange patient data to improve patient care.
SMC and CCCHC serves the communities of Dunn, Mercer and Oliver Counties in North Dakota. On the provider side, the switch to Epic will streamline services, such as scheduling, clinical applications, billing and population health initiatives.
Patients benefit from the use of MyChart, a digital portal that allows patients and their designated caregivers to access health information, communicate with providers, request an appointment and check test results within days using a smartphone or computer.
Epic allows us to adopt some of the standards in place at the best healthcare organizations in the country, but still be flexible and adjust for the needs of SMC and CCCHC locations and patients, says Marcie Schulz, Director of Patient Care, Sakakawea Medical Center.
During the initial conversion to Epic, the registration process and patient visits may take longer than normally expected. Please come to your appointments early to allow additional time for the registration process. In addition, patients could receive multiple billing statements; some through the current systems at both SMC and CCCHC and the additional statements for services provided after April 1st. Please be patient with us as we work through the initial glitches that may be encountered during the implementation of Epic.
ABOUT SAKAKAWEA MEDICAL CENTER AND COAL COUNTRY COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
Sakakawea Medical Center (SMC), a Critical Access Hospital located in Hazen, and Coal Country Community Health Center (CCCHC), a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), with clinic sites in Hazen, Beulah, Center and Killdeer, primarily serve an area that includes three counties in North Dakota: Dunn, Mercer, and Oliver. This service area is defined based on the location of the medical facilities, the geographic distance to other hospitals, and the history of usage by consumers. Located in the hospital’s service are the communities of Beulah, Center, Dodge, Dunn, Center, Golden Valley, Halliday, Hazen, Killdeer, Pick City, Stanton, and Zap.
CCCHC is funding the conversion of their electronic medical record system to Epic in part with Federal grant funds. The total cost of the project is estimated at $461K with 39% paid with Federal grant funds and 61% paid from non-governmental sources. Any funds required above the total cost estimate will be paid from CCCHC reserves and other non-governmental sources.