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Health Department Transforms Patient Experience with Epic, a New EHR System

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Health Department Transforms Patient Experience with the Implementation of Epic, a New Electronic Health Record System

Epic unifies patient medical records across multiple systems, provides access and transparency into patient medical records, and enables access to health data and improvements to patient safety

SAN FRANCISCO (August 20, 2019) – After two years of planning and development, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) went live with Epic, a new electronic health record system. The August 3rd launch of the new system brought together 21 systems that were working independently to create a single integrated medical record for the100,000 patients served by DPH’s San Francisco Health Network (SFHN). The new system reinforces DPH’s mission to protect and promote the health and wellbeing of all San Franciscans.

“With Epic, we will see significant improvements to quality, safety, efficiency, patient experience, and the overall performance of our San Francisco Health Network,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco Director of Health. “Never in the history of the organization has improvement work been undertaken that touches all parts of the health care delivery process simultaneously – clinical, financial, and operations.”

With this implementation, patient records created at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), Laguna Honda Hospital (LHH), primary care and specialty care clinics will seamlessly connect. Patients often cross between these facilities and clinics, and now their records will too, allowing providers to collaborate and improve how they provide care. This kind of coordination is now possible both within SFHN and with other healthcare organizations. So far, more than 12,000 patients have information from non-SFHN providers in their records, making it easier for us to provide them with complete care. Plus, it saves patients the hassle of re-stating or having to remember details from previous visits.

“The implications of the new system will be transformational,” said Dr. Alice Chen, SFHN Chief Medical Officer. “It will touch every part of the health network, from the way providers care for their patients to the way patients engage with their care teams.”

Epic allows providers to access data and metrics that have never been available to them before. We will use this data to make more informed decisions, not just for individual patients, but for the broader community we serve. Epic will give our providers real-time and trending analytics, along with risk scoring tools and chronic disease registries to help inform patient care. For example, our providers will have access to patients’ historical prescription patterns and frequency of hospitalizations. All of this ultimately helps us engage our patients and clients by providing them with valuable health and wellness information, as well as driving outcomes through analytics.
SFHN patients can now register for MyChart, available online and via a mobile app. With MyChart, our patients can see test results, manage appointments, request prescription refills, and message their provider or clinic at any time. Using a patient portal helps patients take control of their medical care. For more information, visit sfhealthnetwork.org/MyChart.

The Epic launch has been very successful, due to careful planning, intense teamwork and robust support during the first two weeks of go-live. The Health Department has had a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to ensuring the transition is as seamless as possible. DPH dispatched over 360 specially trained support staff to help our staff “at the elbow” at each of our points of service. We staffed five command centers with staff working around the clock. As a result, we have resolved 81% of more than 12,000 requests for assistance in the first two weeks since go-live. We are collaborating across multiple teams, deploying Tip Sheets, and creating new workflow processes, ensuring we put the needs of our patients first.

Moving forward, our teams will focus on getting accustomed to the Epic environment and preparing for bringing the rest of the organization on board. Future phases of Epic implementation will include the Population Health Division, Maternal Child and Adolescent Health, Jail Health Services and Behavioral Health Services.

The Epic implementation represents an investment by the City and County of San Francisco of $377 million to bring our public healthcare system up to the highest standards that today’s technology has to offer. The budget was approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2016.

About the San Francisco Department of Public Health
The mission of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) is to protect and promote the health and well-being of all in San Francisco. DPH is an integrated health department with two primary roles and two major divisions to fulfill its mission: Protecting the health of the population, which is the primary responsibility of the Population Health Division; and promoting the health of our patients, which is the primary responsibility of the San Francisco Health Network.

About the San Francisco Health Network
The San Francisco Health Network is a community of top-rated clinics, hospitals and programs operated by the Health Department. We connect San Franciscans to quality health care. Every year we serve more than 100,000 people in our clinics and hospitals, such as Castro Mission, Chinatown, and Southeast health centers, Zuckerberg San Francisco General and Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. We provide continuous care for people wherever they are – in clinics, hospitals, at home, in jail, in transitional housing or on the streets. As the city’s public health system we also provide emergency, trauma, mental health and substance use care to any San Franciscan who needs it. The Health Network celebrates the city’s diversity, serving individuals and families of all backgrounds and identities, regardless of immigration status or lack of insurance. The Health Network is dedicated to empowering all San Franciscans, without exception, to live the healthiest lives possible.

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