On Nov. 11, 2019, Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC) took a big step forward in its journey to seek health equity in the community by advancing the well-being of the diverse people it serves.
Through its new electronic health record (EHR) system called OCHIN-Epic, CUHCC has new tools and solutions to provide the comprehensive, culturally-responsive, coordinated care the clinic is known for.
“For us, it’s a huge change,” said Executive Director Colleen McDonald Diouf. “This propels us into where we need to be in the future. We’ve been doing monumental work to prepare for this.”
According to McDonald Diouf, the goal of the new system is clear: To provide the best care we can for all of our patients. The new EHR will also allow CUHCC’s clinicians, medical residents, students and staff a host of new supportive clinical tools to provide patients with the highest quality care, service and education.
CUHCC is a 53-year-old federally qualified health center offering medical, dental, mental health, advocacy, legal and other programs and a department of the University of Minnesota’s Office of Academic Clinical Affairs. CUHCC serves approximately 12,000 patients annually through more than 62,000 visits. Many of its patients have complex, chronic health issues.
“Our goal is to maximize this technology as much as possible,” said McDonald Diouf. “We will continue to provide whole-person care, and now we have a platform with new capabilities and information to support us.”
As one of 1,700 federally qualified health centers across the country, CUHCC has expertise and a commitment to caring for diverse patients of every race, color, ethnicity, language and belief. The new EHR, based on Epic software and customized for care provided in clinics such as CUHCC, offers providers a complete picture of a patient’s care.
“We now have the tools to analyze which interventions provide the best results for our patients,” said McDonald Diouf. “OCHIN-Epic is a leader in offering data to improve clinical decision-making and we’ll be able to demonstrate what we’ve been doing well.”
Other benefits to the new EHR include better access to patient hospital records, an easier and speedier referral process, and patients will have access to a new online patient portal called MyChart. The MyChart portal offers patients online, secure access to lab results, the ability to schedule certain appointments and send messages to the care team.
Along with benefits for patients, CUHCC providers have found the new EHR an invaluable tool.
“I saw a family today who had a child who went multiple times to the hospital since our last visit,” said one pediatric provider. “All of the info was in the chart at the point of care. Immediate access to this info allowed me to provide better care and to develop a shared treatment plan with the family to move forward.”
Another benefit of the new system is that each patient will now receive an After Visit Summary from the OCHIN-Epic system after each appointment.
“The system has new patient education tools to help us provide customized, coordinated care,” said McDonald Diouf.
The system also has population health capabilities that CUHCC will integrate in the future.
“When people engage in their care and when our providers have the tools they need to see a complete picture, it leads to improved health and access,” said McDonald Diouf.