There’s a new way of communicating at Hawkesbury General Hospital (HGH).

The hospital started using the Epic Health Information Network on June 1.  It allows real-time access to patient information for personnel at the hospital and the others in the network, including for patients.

The system means that patients awaiting test results and communications from their doctors will now get them faster.

“All medical information pertaining to one patient will be shared by the care team and accessible through an electronic medical record in a secure, private environment,” said HGH Chief of Staff and Interim Vice President of Patient Care, Dr. Julie Maranda.

The part of the system patients can use is called MyChart.  It is a secure, online portal that allows patients to see their own health record.

The other hospitals in the Epic partnership include The Ottawa Hospital, The Ottawa Hospital Academic Family Health Team, and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

The Epic system also allows health care professionals to access information from other world-renowned hospitals in Canada and the United States.  Those include CHEO in Ottawa, SickKids and Mackenzie Health in Toronto, St-Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

“It’s all contained in one secure system,” said HGH Vice President of Human Resources and Community Relations, Gisèle Larocque.

Prior to the June 1 launch of Epic, the hospital was using various systems.

Mobile, handheld devices are used to add or view information in the system.

Health care professionals can dictate information into Epic in either English or French.  Charts can be compiled or read in either language, but the other functions of the system are in English only.

The MyChart functions are already being used by patients and extra staff members have been allocated to certain areas of the hospital to help with the adjustment to the new system.