Tomah Memorial Hospital days away from $3 million Epic go-live

Next up, there’s a new hospital in the making.
By Bernie Monegain
01:56 PM
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Epic EHR

Tomah Memorial Hospital

Tomah Memorial Hospital, a 29-bed hospital in Tomah Wisconsin, is poised to flip the switch on its new Epic Systems EHR on Oct. 1.

It’s been nearly two years in the planning, with a price tag of $3 million.

“This represents a major investment and change for our organization,” TMH Information Systems Director LaVonne Smith said in a statement.

[Also: Mayo Clinic kicks off massive Epic EHR go-live]

“It’s in the best interest for our community hospital to make the change because it’s an electronic software that will allow us to communicate across different departments, so as patients come into our emergency room, for example, information will flow to other areas that we care for our patients,” she added.

The EHR will also make it possible for TMH to more easily exchange information with both the Gundersen Health System and the Mayo Franciscan Health System, which both use Epic and have clinics in Tomah, Smith said. With both clinics employing Epic, “it seemed like the right thing to do,” she said.

[Also: UI Health to replace legacy system with $62 million Epic EHR]

“We’re excited about the conversion,” TMH physician assistant Jerry Fushianes said in a statement. “This is going to give us an opportunity to have seamless integration across departments and across platforms so we can share patient information better and provide excellent care.”

To prepare for the conversion, more than 300 staff members began training last June, which TMH clinical systems analyst Heather Laudon admitted was a bit of a challenge, yet well received by everyone.

Over the past four months, more than 300 employees across the organization spent many hours completing online training – in-classroom training and in an open lab. It included everyone from patient registration, scheduling and billing to ancillary services in the lab and imaging, plus clinical front-line staff.

Laudon said she expects the conversion to be “fairly seamless” for patients. However, some routine activities, such as registration, might take a few minutes longer while staff acclimates to the new system.

“The amount of time, efforts and dedication that our staff has invested in the training process over the last few months should ensure a seamless transition for our patients Oct. 1,” Laudon said. She added that patients will need to have their insurance card and a form of identification with them when registering in order to help expedite the process.

The new system also offers additional features, such as online follow-up instructions and appointments, which are scheduled to take effect later this year.

TMH is also in the midst of making plans to build a new $66 million, 140,000 square-foot, three-story hospital with an attached medical office building..

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com