Yale New Haven Health System plans $250M EHR system

By Molly Merrill
10:25 AM

Plans are underway to deploy an EHR system at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut by 2012. The deployment is part of a bigger project at Yale New Haven Health System (YNHHS) that aims at linking its hospitals, community physicians, patients and caregivers.

Greenwich Hospital, a 174-bed community teaching hospital, is expected to be the first to go live with the EHR system, which will integrate patient information across YNHHS with the hospital.

YNHHS includes Bridgeport Hospital, Yale-New Haven Hospital, the Yale Medical Group, the Northeast Medical Group and community physicians throughout the state. Officials said all partners will be fully on board with the system by 2014.

The EHR software is designed by Epic Systems and will enhance patient care by creating a single electronic health record that follows individuals everywhere – from their community doctor's office to the hospital's emergency department to the outpatient laboratory facility and back home to the patient's computer.

[Read about another Epic project: Minnesota gets 'Care Everywhere'.]

"Expanding our capabilities by adopting integrated electronic medical record technology throughout the Yale New Haven Health System ensures that Greenwich Hospital patients receive the finest healthcare available whenever and wherever the need arises," said Frank A. Corvino, president and chief executive officer at Greenwich Hospital.

Corvino believes that the Greenwhich is at the forefront of health IT with a "bedside medication verification system, online nursing documentation, online physician ordering, electronic clinical monitoring and more."

"Staying at the forefront of health information technology is critical to Greenwich Hospital's continued success as a premier healthcare facility," he said.

[See how Greenwhich stacked up: 'Most Wired Hospitals' for 2009 named.]

Greenwich Hospital employees from key departments are collaborating with their counterparts at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Bridgeport Hospital to build the system. Approximately 140 people are employed on the project team and over 300 additional physicians and staff from Greenwich Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital, Yale New Haven Hospital, Northeast Medical Group, Yale Medical Group and community physician practices are involved.

YNHHS officials place the five-year estimate for building and maintaining the Epic system at $250 million.

When implemented over the next few years, the Epic system will provide a user-friendly electronic system that improves the quality of care for patients, while simplifying methods for documenting, accessing and sharing medical records.

Among the benefits of the Epic system:

  • Enhanced coordinated patient care and safety. Patients will have one centralized electronic chart with all their medical information – from family history and allergies to medications and test results. That way, caregivers have the information they need so treatment can begin quickly and safely.
  • Lower healthcare costs. Having a centralized chart with all previous procedures and test results eliminates the need to duplicate expensive tests and procedures.
  • Improved communication among caregivers and patients. From their private office or a hospital location, community physicians will have secure online access to critical patient information at a moment's notice. Physicians can place online orders for medications and diagnostic tests round-the-clock.
  • Ability to track medical care from home. Patients will have controlled access to their medical records to track their medical care from home. They can take advantage of a variety of conveniences from viewing test results and scheduling appointments to paying bills and getting automated health maintenance reminders.