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Transforming Inova for the 21st Century

David P. Ascher, MD

David P. Ascher, MD, MBA
Chairman, Department of Pediatrics
Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children

As part of our journey of continuing transformation and improvement, Inova Health System is undergoing several initiatives that will cement our position as the leader in healthcare for Northern Virginia. One of the most significant projects underway is the implementation of a new electronic medical record (EMR) across the entire enterprise. In April 2011, Inova signed a contract with Epic to install its software in  Inova’s ambulatory care centers, physician offices and hospitals. The new EMR – which we are calling EpicCare – will create a “OneInova” system that will help standardize treatment and management protocols, provide better continuity to our patients, and streamline communications and the transfer of medical data and information across the system. This will enable Inova to maintain its reputation as one the most wired medical systems in the country, at the same time that we hone our mission of providing excellent care to our patients.

A team of clinicians, administrators, allied health workers and other employees from across Inova, together with support staff and trainers from Epic’s headquarters, are working feverishly toward the various go-live dates. For Inova Fairfax Hospital and Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children, that date is November of 2012. Right now, teams have evaluated and validated the straight-out-of-the-box workflows that EpicCare contains and have re-engineered the ones that needed adjustments to fit Inova’s unique needs. The next phase involves design teams that will work to refine the workflows; establish clinical content such as order sets and documentation templates; and determine the “look and feel” of the software. These design teams involve clinicians and health providers from all specialties and locations, as well as members of the billing department, legal, medical records, medical education and many others. This is a truly colossal endeavor.

As I mentioned in a previous message, change often takes time and effort. The implementation of the EpicCare EMR will require our patience and support as we learn to navigate the new system. But EpicCare is just one of the many tools in our ongoing process of change. As with any dynamic of change, it is important to keep our eyes on our mission, which will always be the same: to provide excellent care to the children of our region. With EpicCare, we launch our mission into the 21st century and beyond. 

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