Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

New computer system goes live at Aspirus Grand View

IRONWOOD - Since Sunday, Aspirus Grand View Hospital in Ironwood, along with Aspirus Ontonagon and Aspirus Keweenaw, joined the Epic system, making medical records easier to share amongst hospitals, clinics and even to the patients themselves.

The system replaces traditional paper charts for patients, and Aspirus has encouraged its hospitals to modernize.

A major plus, according to Grand View administration and employees is the sharing of information among other hospitals or clinics.

"Many patients receive care from larger institutions, which also use Epic," Steve Phillipson, vice chief of staff at Aspirus Grand View, said. "We will be linked into that system which is huge."

Employees knowledgeable in Epic have traveled throughout the Upper Peninsula, training the employees how to use the systems.

Linda O'Mara, a consultant/contractor from Medisource, is one of the people training employees, and said Ironwood has "done well," with the transition from the old system to the new.

"They are doing great here," O'Mara said. "They have caught on very quickly, which speaks well to how well they have been trained."

Some of Grand View's employees took extensive training in order to train their fellow colleagues in Epic. Those employees are called "Super Users," and one trainer has been paired with every provider within the Grand View system.

According to Paula Chermside, chief operating officer, things have been going well with the transition, and believes it is an "exciting time," for the employees at Grand View.

"They have come in with positive attitudes, which is great to see, and despite the learning curve, as with new technology, they have applied themselves with the best of attitudes," Chermside said. "Because of that, the learning curve has been shortened or minimized."

Some employees have experience Epic in the past, and found the transition to be quite easy. Christopher Wells, of family medicine, said he used Epic while in residency and has been helping his fellow colleagues with the system. According to Wells, Epic provides an "incredible advantage," when it comes to sharing information between hospitals about patients.

"What used to take days to get things transcribed, it's now happening in minutes," Wells said.

According to certified physicians assistant Andy Tait, the system helps patients not only have access to their information, but helps them with their overall health care.

"Even with the old system, the hard data was there," Tait said. "But what is different about this is the data is shared across the system. ... This saves on repetitive testing on patients and more information on medications, so it makes a difference in the care of the patient."

Chermside said she has been enjoying watching how the providers are handling the system, especially in ways of improving the system.

"Employees receive calls twice a day about the system, and they informed the callers of problems or things they would like to see changed," Chermside said. "It's been working out really well."

As with any new system, there have been some bugs, including things taking longer than normal with patients, but everyone's been patient, according to Chermside.

"The patients have been wonderful, and with time, things will progress," she said. "The volunteers have also been great in helping anyway that they can."

Patients are encouraged to use "My Aspirus," the online network allowing them to access their online medical records. People can receive a username and password to access their information at Aspirus Grand View, and can request the records be shared with their physicians.

"People have worked really hard on this," Phillipson said. "... It's another positive with the partnership with Aspirus. Without that partnership these three hospitals would not have been able to afford this."

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