Greensboro, N.C. - When you get sick, you can end up sitting in a lot of different doctors' offices. Oftentimes, you have to repeat yourself over and over again. Each doctor's office can have its own system. In the past, those systems could not and did not talk to each other.
Now, that's all changing for two of the largest health systems in the Triad.
The new system is already partially installed at some Cone Health hospitals. Doctors say the system will save money and time because they will be able to get a complete picture of your health in seconds.
For example, if you end up in an emergency room unconscious, doctors will be able to pull up your entire medical history, without having to call a bunch of different doctors to piece your file together.
"People, of course, did their best to keep all of those histories put together in one place. But, the more places you were seen, the more complicated that becomes and that increases the risk you'll have an error from a wrong medication being given to you, or that you'll forget to take a medication that's important to take, or that one doctor or set of nurses won't have an important piece of your history," Cone Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Mary Jo Cagle said.
Wake Forest Baptist Health is also switching to this new system later this year. But, what about your privacy? How will your information be protected? Cone Health says a hacker has never broken into its medical records system. In addition, it has multiple firewalls and protections in place.
Plus, there are different security clearances based on a staff member's job.
"We've worked very hard to segregate duties so that each person gets the access they need, but not more than that or less than that. We monitor every user's access," Cone Health Compliance and Privacy Officer Lynn Mathews said. "We want our patients to feel comfortable, to feel safe and to feel that their private information is private."
If an employee gets caught looking at information that he or she should not be accessing, that worker could be fired.
The program both health systems are switching to is called Epic Systems. The company works with 270 healthcare organizations throughout the country. When all current systems are installed, according to the company, about 42 percent of the U.S. population will be on Epic software.
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