Northern California has signed on to Epic Systems Corp.'s
Care Everywhere after frustrating some of its peers by holding out on the network, which allows providers with Epic's EHR
systems to share patient health information across geographic and organizational boundaries.
Through Care Everywhere, participants get real-time and secure access to patient and family medical histories, previous diagnoses, lab tests, medications, allergies, physician notes and other health data that can be transferred online through an encrypted connection.
Kaiser spokesman Jason Allen confirmed the development. He declined to discuss why the system's Northern California providers didn't join earlier, and he declined to provide any details of the agreement with Epic, saying more information would be released early next year.
Other Kaiser divisions, including Kaiser Permanente Southern California, have already been participating in the network, which debuted in California in 2008 and includes Sutter Health and other major regional players such as Stanford Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Medical Center and UC Davis Health System. Nationally, more than 200 Epic users participate in the network.
Dr. Bill Isenberg, enterprise EHR physician adoption executive at Sutter Health in Sacramento, said Care Everywhere's instant record retrieval makes healthcare more efficient. More importantly, he said, the ability to access a complete clinical record improves patient safety.
“On behalf of patients, we're just delighted that Kaiser Permanente has joined the rest of its colleagues,” Isenberg said.
Epic is the largest vendor of electronic health-record systems. As of November, 19.4% of providers used Epic as their primary EHR vendor.Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden