In my brief tenure as an academic oral & maxillofacial surgeon and through advanced graduate studies in clinical informatics at Oregon Health & Sciences University, I gained a real working knowledge of the benefits of the EPIC electronic health record (EHR).
EHR implementation gained heavy momentum during the Obama presidency as the result of the HITECH act which provided among many things financial incentives for health care entities to adopt meaningful use activities. Meaningful use activities were a set of criteria which brought forth gradual EHR adoption and was promoted through Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement incentives. The goal of these activities was to make patient data more accessible to doctors and patients themselves, to improve the exchange of information between institutions, to improve insurance integration within health care systems, and to hopefully help decrease the cost of care among many others.
The EPIC EHR system is by far the #1 EHR in the USA, if not the world. Health care providers within an EPIC care system have unlimited access to patient health care information on a number of different platforms (desktop, mobile) both local and remote. And anybody these days who has an a relationship with a major healthcare entity as a patient should be well award of the benefits of the patient access portal MyChart. EPIC even has a dental EHR named “Wisdom”.
But what most dental providers do not realize is that they too can have access to a local or regional health care entity’s EPIC EHR through a resource called EPIC CareLink. While you cannot add information to the EHR, the benefit is that you can easily lookup a patients entire EHR without having to request records, etc. Further, if communication is desired between your patients medical providers, you are provided the credentials to exchange information electronically in the EPIC platform through EPIC Mail.
Dental providers should take the opportunity to partake of this highly useful capability. It’s fast, it’s convenient, and it’s free. Simply look for CareLink with your nearest neighboring health care institution and fill out the application. For example, here in North Carolina I could apply for CareLink access through University of North Carolina Healthcare or Duke Healthcare – both are EPIC institutions. If you are a licensed health care provider, you have a legitimate opportunity to request access.
EPIC CareLink will help you improve the care you provide your patients. Period. Do it.