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Implementation at Duke Regional and Duke Raleigh Hospitals Moved up to March 1, 2014, Due to Success of Project To Date

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke University Health System (DUHS) has become the first provider in the greater Triangle to implement the country's leading electronic health record (EHR) system, with 223 outpatient facilities and Duke University Hospital now utilizing this state-of-the-art system.

Based on the success of the rollout of the system to date, the implementation dates for the EHR at Duke Regional Hospital and Duke Raleigh Hospital have been moved up and will take place on March 1, 2014, at which point the EHR will be used at all DUHS points of care and by all Duke providers.

The new EHR will ultimately create a single electronic health record for each patient that contains comprehensive information from each encounter with a physician or provider at any Duke Medicine facility. The seamless, real-time access to a patient's complete medical record will provide valuable information to Duke clinicians and will advance the already high quality of care provided to patients.

The breadth of functionality offered by the new health record system will also revolutionize the way Duke providers exchange information about a patient's care across all care settings – improving quality, safety, speed and efficiency.

Using the Care Everywhere health information exchange, the new EHR also enables Duke Medicine providers to more effectively communicate about shared patients with non-Duke providers throughout the state and country. Duke's EHR allows the confidential and secure sharing of a patient's health information between more than 180 health care institutions that utilize the same health records system. In August 2013 alone, more than 19,000 queries were sent and received between Duke providers and other organizations nationwide using the Care Everywhere tool.

"The EHR technology is a great advance for patients in that it will facilitate a new level of transparency and information sharing among care teams about an individual's care. We expect this will translate to further enhancements in the quality, safety and effectiveness of care delivered," said Jeffrey Ferranti, M.D., chief information officer for Duke Medicine. "It will also give patients complete access to their own health records through an online portal that also allows patients greater ability to proactively engage in their care."

The new online portal, Duke MyChart, allows patients to access test results and other information from the new health records system. Patients also can schedule appointments online, communicate with their physicians electronically, request prescription refills, and more. With the new Duke MyChart iPhone and Android MyChart apps, patients can quickly and easily access and manage their health information.

To date, the implementation of the EHR at Duke has been achieved ahead of schedule and under the projected budget. It is anticipated that the project will be completed ahead of schedule when Duke Regional and Duke Raleigh hospitals are brought online in March 2014.

Duke confirmed with Epic Systems, the company behind the EHR technology, that the implementation represented one of the largest single-day go-live events in the vendor's history. It followed two years of extensive planning and building of the system to Duke's specifications. More than 16,000 Duke faculty and staff were trained prior to implementing the new system.

"It would be impossible to overstate the magnitude of the organizational commitment that made this project possible," said Thomas Owens, M.D., chief medical officer for Duke University Health System. "Thousands of faculty and staff invested countless hours participating in the preparation and implementation of this system on top of all of their many other clinical and administrative duties, and our early data indicate it has been a great success."

Of note, during the implementation of the EHR there were no significant disruptions to patient care or the patient billing process.

The implementation of the EHR began in July 2012 with Duke Primary Care practices and providers, and was subsequently rolled out in waves to outpatient clinics and Duke University Hospital in late 2012 and early 2013.

The numbers associated with the project to date speak to the size and complexity of the project:

  •  223 clinics now live on the system.
  • More than 50 clinical information systems have been eliminated as a result of the vast capabilities of the EHR. By project's end, a total of 130 separate clinical IT systems will be eliminated.
  • 172,937 total hours of training (19.7 years) completed by faculty and staff to date.
  • More than 396,000 patients with an active Duke MyChart account.
  • 44,000 communications sent from patients to Duke providers through Duke MyChart.

"Managing the implementation of this huge project, while maintaining our historic clinical volume and financial performance, is a testament to the high quality and dedication of our faculty and staff," said Victor J. Dzau, M.D., chancellor for health affairs and CEO of Duke University Health System.

"The system is functioning as we designed it and our task now is to complete the rollout of the system at Duke Regional and Duke Raleigh, plus work with faculty and staff for opportunities to optimize the technology and enhance its effectiveness within the unique Duke environment," Ferranti said.

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