MiChart tech enhancements for better patient care, education, and research

New modules and functionality will be added to Michigan Medicine’s electronic medical record over the next six years. The MiChart Stage 5 (MC5) program kicked off in July 2021 and focuses on improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of care for patients and their families. This three-phase, six-year program will adopt 19 new Epic modules. 

Michigan Medicine’s electronic health record, MiChart, launched in 2012. The technology, built on the Epic Electronic Health Record (EHR) platform, is the primary application for clinical care that supports research, integration, and education needs. Over the years, Health Information Technology & Services (HITS) has partnered with clinicians, researchers, and administrators to identify and implement new functionality to best serve the complex needs of the Michigan Medicine community.  

Phase 1, which is set to finish by the end of fiscal year of 2023, will introduce eight new modules covering a variety of areas, range from anesthesia to behavioral health to radiology and more.

The implementation of these new MiChart modules will not only help centralize the core IT at Michigan Medicine, but will also enhance the quality of data, ensure patient safety, and establish reliable systems, workflows, and processes.  

“Taking on [MC5] will allow our organization to take a giant leap forward to meet our goal of a truly integrated EHR,” said Carleen Penoza, chief nursing information officer and adjunct clinical instructor.  

“Integrated workflows reduce the redundancy of documentation and improve efficiency, and improves patient safety and patient satisfaction,” Penoza said.

MC5 is unique from previous MiChart staged efforts for multiple reasons: not only does this program extend six years and employ rolling go-lives, but it is also the first MiChart stage that Michigan Medicine is handling entirely on its own without contracting assistance from outside vendors. 

Rover for Radiology: X-ray workflows are more efficient and accurate since going mobile. 

The first MC5 go-live occurred in October 2021, and incorporated Epic’s mobile application, Rover, into the Department of Radiology team’s workflows.  

Prior to going mobile, Radiology conducted portable X-ray exams using paper control sheets. The control sheet workflow consisted of techs preparing an abundance of studies before they began their exams, and this method posed several issues: technologists did not have easy access to MiChart while going room-to-room; misleading timestamps for patient exams were recorded into the system; technologists had to sort through an abundance of patient records for each exam which left a greater risk of user error. 

Using Rover, the HITS MiChart Radiant team eliminated the use of paper control sheets, improved the accuracy of patient records, and reduced the likelihood of user error. Since Rover’s go-live, the Radiology group has given extremely positive feedback. Rover for Radiology introduced a multitude of efficiencies to their process. 

“It was an intuitive process for the portable X-ray techs,” stated TJ Grzeskowiak, HITS admin manager. “They transitioned seamlessly to the new workflow.” Grzeskowiak worked as the lead analyst for the MiChart Radiant team during the Rover project.  

Pending further developments from Epic, mobile applications pose the possibility of further improving workflows in healthcare. 

Financial Assistance Project increases patient security and satisfaction

The Financial Assistance Project: Applying for financial assistance digitally allows patients to receive real-time updates and speeds up the application process. 

MiChart’s new Financial Assistance module, which went live in April 2022, provides operations with a secure central database for patient records that improves the efficiency of workflows, and improved patient access is expected to reduce call volumes, manual work, and patient wait time.   

Previously, when patients applied for financial assistance, they would often send sensitive documents in the mail for review. The process could take weeks to complete and contributed to an inefficient workflow. With Epic’s Financial Assistance module, patients can upload documents to their MyUofMHealth patient portal, receive real-time updates on their application status, and see responses within a matter of days. 

“It’s all about having the best patient experience possible,” said Amber Athan, operations project manager, Michigan Medicine Finance. “Around 67 percent of patients at Michigan Medicine are using the patient portal, so integrating financial assistance is crucial to providing the best patient care possible.” 

Another crucial part of improving workflows is ensuring the design of new modules matches the needs of Michigan Medicine staff. “We have exceptional collaboration between operations and IT,” said Michelle Kostishak, HITS business systems analyst. We have a great group of people, and we work together well; we approach things as a team.”