NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island Implements Epic System to Improve Patient Care and Safety

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island has become the first PAGNY-affiliated hospital to adopt the Epic electronic medical records system, which is aimed at improving patient care and patient safety. Epic Systems Corp. offers software that is widely used by hospitals, clinics, nursing facilities, hospices and individual patients to help improve outcomes and enhance quality care.

“We’re now using a system that’s up-to-date and will improve the quality of care for our patients and improve patient safety,” said Dr. Terence Brady, Coney Island’s Associate Chief Medical Officer. “That’s what we’re looking at more than anything.”

Epic also gives the hospital the opportunity to become more efficient and reduce expenses—primarily by eliminating duplicative tests on patients.

“We have great doctors, nurses and ancillary staff at Coney Island Hospital,” said Dr. Edward Fishkin, Interim Chief Medical Officer at Coney Island. “The key to excellent patient care, patient experience and respect between care team members is clear and precise communication. Epic provides our Coney Island health care team a 21st century tool that enables us to effectively communicate, customize our information needs and build the structures we want to meet the needs of all of our patients in every venue where they receive care. The opportunities are endless. We’re all very excited to become Epic experts in order to take advantage of and maximize the new potential of electronic medical records.”

Anthony Rajkumar, Chief Executive Officer at Coney Island, said, “This technology of the future is all about patient-centered care. With our staff working together in one system, we’ll be able to advance quality of care and provide a better experience for our patients for many decades to come.”

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island Hospital is the third City hospital—after NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens and NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst—to adopt the Epic system. All of the City’s public hospitals are expected to adopt the system within the next two years.

Under Epic, hospitals can more easily and quickly learn about a patient’s medical record, including previous lab tests, X-rays and consultations.

“If you have the ability to review someone’s records from another hospital or within the hospital itself, there are no mistakes made in terms of interpretation,” Dr. Brady said. “Before, no one could understand a physician’s handwriting. Now, you know the correct doses and you get fewer medication errors.”

Epic also improves the patient-doctor relationship because it offers a “MyChart” system that enables patients and physicians to stay in touch with each other electronically. For example, a doctor can write the results of tests or the need for more tests on a patient’s electronic “MyChart” record, which the patient can see just by logging into his or her account.

And for patients who aren’t comfortable with new technology, doctors still have the ability to communicate with them verbally as they always have—even when they speak another language. “If you’re computer savvy, patients love it,” Dr. Brady said.

Epic went into effect at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island on February 25th and so far the rollout has been very successful—already 250 patients have signed up for “MyChart,” Dr. Brady said.

Staff training began last fall in preparation for the roll out and implementation of the new system.