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The digital age comes to health care


Meeting and communicating with consumers where they are is no longer simply a marketing or advertising strategy. In this transformative digital age, it has become a necessity.

Today, consumers can set a home security system, deposit a check, order groceries, and meet “in person” with friends and family around the world — all with a few clicks of a button. With more technological advances happening every minute, the health care industry has been compelled to come up with its own industry-applicable solutions.

At Novant Health, the approach to making health care more convenient and easier to access means innovatively reinventing health care in the digital age. While keeping patient safety, quality and affordability at the forefront, Novant Health has implemented a number of advances.

Going electronic

In July 2013, the organization finalized the implementation of the electronic health record (EHR) in all 380-plus physician practices across the Novant Health system. The implementation was completed three years early and under budget. 

Most importantly, the organization has successfully leveraged the tool to enroll more than 275,000 patients to-date in MyChart — an online secure patient portal that is part of the EHR. Through this tool, Novant Health patients have the ability to view their medical information online, creating connectivity and improving providers’ ability to exchange information with patients.

A variety of innovative and trendsetting features in MyChart have proven integral to Novant Health’s ability to launch new features and fulfill the organizational brand promise of making health care simpler, more convenient and more affordable. In the secure portal, patients are able to email their care team, view their health information, request prescription refills, participate in e-visits and video visits, as well as directly schedule appointments with their providers. Over the past year, more than 23,000 appointments were made online through MyChart.

For the implementation of the EHR at physician clinics, Novant Health received the prestigious Health Information and Management Systems Society Stage 7 Ambulatory Award. At the time of the award, Novant Health was one of only six systems in the country to attain the highest level of EHR use — meaning that Novant Health physician clinics had moved from a paper-based medical record for every patient to a fully adopted and implemented EHR that demonstrated a patient-centered approach.

One example of this is exchanging thousands of health records electronically from New York to Oregon in real time. This approach allowed patients to have their records conveniently available anywhere in the country.

In October 2013, Novant Health completed the EHR rollout at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina — the first of 15 medical centers in the system to go live with electronic health records. Three more acute facilities and two outpatient surgical centers came online at the end of March 2014, with all greater-Winston-Salem Novant Health medical centers following in summer 2014.

Benefits of EHR

The benefits of a single health record are many, and the EHR’s seamless accessibility across all medical group practices and medical centers is the largest. This enhanced connectivity not only improves Novant Health’s ability to exchange information within the system, but also enhances patient safety. Through streamlined workflows, integrated decision support, and reminders for health maintenance, patients have more transparency in their wellness than ever before.

Added benefits of a single medical record also include increased operational efficiency, as well as maintained affordability through immediate access to medical records and a reduction in paperwork and printing costs.

With additional progress in mobile applications, telemedicine and open scheduling (the ability to allow both new and established patients to make an appointment online in real time), Novant Health is transforming to make healthcare more convenient and easier than ever before.





Published: 10/9/2014