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WellSpan Health embarks on care transformation initiative

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New electronic health record system launches Friday; patients may experience service delays

WellSpan Health this week will begin a new initiative aimed at transforming the care experience for patients across the regional health system.

Starting Friday, May 5, WellSpan will begin to introduce a new way of connecting with patients through an advanced, new electronic health record (EHR) system. The system – a product of Epic, a leading national health care software firm based in Verona, Wisc. – will allow patients to more easily connect with their care team, and will allow better coordination of care across WellSpan’s many locations in the region.

Known among WellSpan’s 15,000 staff members as Project One, this care transformation initiative began in 2014 as an effort to consolidate the growing health system’s multiple EHR systems into one, unified platform. Once completed, the initiative will allow the health system to maintain all clinical data and patient information on one EHR platform – providing one patient record no matter where they receive care in the system.

Tom McGann, M.D., executive vice president for clinical practice at WellSpan Health, noted that the name, Project One, was intended to have multiple meanings.

“This transition means we’ll have one EHR for our entire system, which also means one record for each patient, one registration system, one unified bill and one online patient portal, among other benefits,” McGann said. “But perhaps most importantly, this will allow us to truly achieve our mission of ‘working as one’ – whether we’re caring for patients in Ephrata, Palmyra, Hanover or Gettysburg. This will allow us to be a truly coordinated, integrated health system.”

WellSpan is launching its Epic EHR system in two phases. The first phase, which occurs on Friday, will bring all WellSpan locations in Lancaster and Lebanon counties – except WellSpan Philhaven offices – online with the new system. This will include WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital and all physician offices and outpatient locations east of the Susquehanna River.

McGann noted that patients may experience temporary wait times that are longer than usual or other temporary service delays, as clinicians and staff transition to the new system. However, he said, patients should plan to arrive at their scheduled appointment time.

“We’re doing everything possible to minimize disruptions, but we also want to make sure our patients are aware that this transition is occurring and may cause some delays,” he said, adding that patients will see “WellSpan Ambassadors” available at care locations across the region for those who need assistance.

The second phase of the transition will begin on Oct. 20, at which time all WellSpan locations in York and Adams counties, and all other locations west of the Susquehanna River, will go live with the new Epic system. That will include WellSpan York Hospital, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital and all physician offices and outpatient locations in those counties.

WellSpan Philhaven behavioral health locations will transition to the new EHR system at a later date.

About WellSpan Health
WellSpan Health is an integrated health system that serves the communities of central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. The organization is comprised of a multispecialty medical group of more than 1,200 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a home care organization, six respected hospitals, more than 15,000 employees, and more than 130 patient care locations. WellSpan is a charitable, mission-driven organization, committed to exceptional care for all, lifelong wellness and healthy communities.
Source: WellSpan press release