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EMR Safety Warnings at CA Health System Echo Joint Commission's

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, August 21, 2012

System integration issues
At Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, my sources tell me two such major systems are not properly integrated—not an unusual situation for hospitals. The hospital's lab systems are still running software from Meditech, even as the hospital-wide EMR is now Epic's.

If an alarming lab result shows up in Meditech, it will not appear in the patient's Epic-based medical record without extra integration work by vendors and IT staff.  Otherwise, all lab results must be communicated via some other means.

David Runt, CIO of Contra Costa Health Services, acknowledges that the lab runs Meditech while the EMR is Epic's. "We've had some issues with the lab requests flowing over to the laboratory, but those are addressed and fixed as they are raised," Runt says.

The laboratory module is the newest of the Epic suite of products, and has "not a large installed base," Runt says. "We're formerly a Meditech shop, so those Meditech shops that were converting to Epic, many of them have made the decision to stay on the Meditech lab or stay on whatever lab system they were on at the time, so we're not unique in that respect."

Roth says no patients have been seriously adversely affected by anything that can be attributed to the transition to Epic. But my sources say that Epic was concerned enough last week to fly support staff to Contra Costa. I do not, however, have confirmation of this from either Epic or Contra Costa Health Services.

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