Epic upgrade scheduled for Aug. 10

On Sunday, Aug. 10, Yale New Haven Health System will upgrade to the 2014 version of Epic, which will include new features and more streamlined functions, but will not require specific additional training.

Since adopting Epic system-wide, Information Technology Services (ITS) has continually implemented Epic updates to stay as current as possible, so the changes that will occur with the 2014 version will not be disruptive for users, said Lisa Stump, vice president, Information Technology Services and associate chief information officer.

"It will be similar to upgrading to a newer version of Outlook — things might look slightly different at first, but users will quickly adapt and discover many improvements to both clinical and non-clinical applications," she said.

Among the major improvements is a search box, similar to Google, that will allow users to search within a patient's electronic record. For example, if a nurse types "CBC" (complete blood count) into the search box, all results with that term will appear, including physician orders and test results.

Another major improvement is a new safety feature that will highlight similar orders or patient names, helping to avoid duplicate physician orders or potential patient identification problems.

Physicians will find a number of improvements with the 2014 version, said Allen Hsiao, MD, chief medical information officer, YNHH. These include a larger "sign order" button and an easier-to-navigate "in basket" which contains results, referrals and additional information from different physicians involved in the patient's care.

The Aug. 10 upgrade will pave the way for additional improvements that will be rolled out over time, including better reporting tools, a bed management application, the ability to link some Epic functions to mobile devices and fixes to the blood administration workflow. Users who have questions or need assistance during the upgrade should call their ITS Help Desk.