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A nurse's view: why Bozeman Health's new electronic health records system rocks


The new electronic health records (EHR) system implemented at Bozeman Health late last year “is a great tool to help me take care of my patients,” says Kelsey Elkins, RN of Bozeman Health Women’s Specialists Clinic. “And in the long run, as patients learn to use it, they will love it too.”

Elkins, who has been a nurse at Bozeman Health since 2012, already has patients praising MyChart, the patient portal into their EHR, for the “super-quick” ability to email their provider and receive important notifications on their cellphones rather than playing phone tag. Patients also can get lab results or pull up a list of their medications via smart phone, which can be helpful for older patients while travelling, she said.

“MyChart puts patients at the forefront of their own care,” Elkins said. “It gets patients more involved in their care, and encourages them to ask more questions.”

From a clinician viewpoint, Elkins particularly appreciates how the EHR connects the hospital to clinics, making for good communications between providers. “If I have to send a patient to labor and delivery, they can see her records from the clinic, and I can follow up and see exactly what happened there,” she said. “It makes for more congruent care.”

Nurses and other providers have to put in the work learning the system, Elkins said, but it pays off because it then takes them less time charting or updating history, and gets patients in to the doctor faster. Younger providers are quick to become proficient with Bozeman Health’s system because most learn EHRs while training, she added.

“Every day I find something new in Epic to make my job easier,” Elkins said. “I think I will continue to find new tips and tricks that will make it better.”