New EMR Platform Brings New Patient Portal, Enhanced Patient Experience

On March 2, Albany Medical Center will launch a new electronic medical record—the culmination of two years of work to elevate the care delivered within the Albany Med Health System and heighten the experience of our patients and workforce.

Albany Medical Center and its clinic locations will be the first in the System to launch Epic, our unified EMR and an industry leading platform used at health care organizations nationwide. Columbia Memorial Health, Glens Falls Hospital, and Saratoga Hospital will launch the platform later this year. With Epic as the single source of truth for patient information, services across the System will align like never before. For the workforce, this means greater collaboration, and for patients, more seamless care.

“When our patients come to Albany Medical Center, their medical information will be on one integrated platform,” said Albany Medical Center Vice President of Practice Administration Christine Selke. “Whether they access our emergency room, urgent care, outpatient clinics, inpatient services, or any of our ancillary services, the medical professionals assisting patients will be able to access their health information in one system.”

Once Epic goes live, patient information that had been previously stored in multiple EMR platforms will be available to clinicians in a single system. This will allow, for example, a patient’s primary care physician at Columbia Memorial Health to easily and immediately view test results or other treatment a patient has received from a specialist at Albany Medical Center, reducing the need for repetitive paperwork and time spent on back-and-forth phone calls.

MyChart Patient Portal

Greater access to information isn’t limited to medical staff. Epic brings with it a patient portal, MyChart, that will allow patients to manage their own health care from one single account as well as stay on top of their children’s information or that of a loved one who may need some extra help.

“MyChart will enable patients to interact with their providers, see their medical record, pay their bills, apply for financial assistance, schedule appointments, and select how they prefer to communicate with Albany Medical Center for their health care needs,” Albany Med Health System Vice President of Revenue Cycle Services Shelly Breton said.

Through MyChart, patients can request prescription refills, send secure messages to their doctor, access lab results, complete pre-visit tasks, and ensure their information such as demographics and insurance are up to date. A patient’s after-visit summary and their doctor’s notes will also be readily available in their MyChart account.

Simplified Billing

Epic will also help simplify a patient’s financial experience with a single billing office (SBO) for the Albany Med Health System. Currently, patients receive multiple statements with different ways to make payments, apply for aid, update insurance information, and ask questions. Breton described the SBO as the hub where patients can get all the information they need about payments and financial aid.

“No longer will a patient receive multiple bills for services rendered at different facilities,” Breton said. “Once live on Epic, a patient will receive one bill for all the care they receive anywhere in the Albany Med Health System. Patients will only need to call one number for all their billing and financial aid inquiries.”

To save patients’ time when they arrive for appointments, some Albany Medical Center locations will also have self-service kiosks where they can check in and pay their copay if needed.

Connecting Care Throughout the System

Deploying a unified EMR has been an effort among all Albany Med Health System campuses to connect even more patients to the care and services we offer. Although Albany Medical Center is the first System hospital to launch with Epic, Columbia Memorial Health, Glens Falls Hospital, and Saratoga Hospital will go live in September.

“There have been multidisciplinary teams across the Albany Med Health System who have been working on standardizing process over the past two years with the focus of creating more efficiencies for our patients,” said Selke. “I’m excited to see our patient experience improve with Epic.”