HEALTH INFORMATION SYSTEM FAQ

JOURNEY TO MEDITECH EXPANSE


Updated: May 27, 2022

The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) electronic health information system offers one centralized location for patient medical records – where all of our healthcare providers can share information about the care a patient receives.  This shared system offers increased safety of patient care and seamless recording sharing with appropriate personnel.  All patients of TRHI will have their health records stored in MEDITECH Expanse effective July 1, 2022.

In 2020, The Richland Hospital, Inc. merged with the Richland Medical Center but each entity had operated under different electronic health information systems; The Richland Hospital under MEDITECH and Richland Medical Center under Aprima.  Since the merger of the hospital and clinic in 2020, all staff across the hospital and clinic have been entering patient data into two systems.  After much research, negotiation of a contract, and establishment of a timeline, the leadership of The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) was able to formally announce the use of a singular system in order to offer ideal patient care, efficiencies, and communication.  MEDITECH was the preferred system and MEDITECH Expanse is an upgrade of that system that offered the opportunity for the hospital and clinics to merge records. Many ask why we are undergoing this change; in summary:

  • To establish clear communication between all departments
  • To eliminate manual workarounds
  • To increase department efficiencies
  • To continue giving great patient care to our community

Electronic Health Information System

How does the electronic health information system affect me?

The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) electronic health record system offers one centralized location for patient medical records – where all of our healthcare providers can share information about the care a patient receives. This shared system offers increased safety of patient care and seamless recording sharing with appropriate personnel. All patients of TRHI will have their health records stored in MEDITECH Expanse effective July 1, 2022.

What is MEDITECH Expanse?
MEDITECH Expanse is the software used to manage the Health Information System (HIS) throughout The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) setting. The MEDITECH Expanse software impacts many areas of the hospital and clinics including patient electronic health records, patient scheduling, patient accounts, and the hospital and clinic accounting system. MEDITECH Expanse will be the singular HIS for The Richland Hospital and Clinic, Muscoda Health Center, and Spring Green Medical Center.

What about this new system is improved or better?

  • From a patient perspective, MEDITECH Expanse is an improved system offering patients one complete record instead of a clinic record and hospital record.
  • From a staff perspective, MEDITECH Expanse is an improved system in regard to collaboration and communication flows between different departments of The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI).

What changes should I expect to experience?
For patients of The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI), consent forms in the hospital setting are now electronic vs. on paper.

What are benefits of this project?
Conversion of The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) electronic health records to MEDITECH Expanse allows all staff to work under a single system. Other key factors that affected the decision to upgrade and convert to MEDITECH Expanse were long-term cost savings, improved functionality and customization options for staff, and improved communication between all departments of TRHI.

Timeline

When will everything switch over?
Effective July 1, 2022, Clinic data collected in Aprima—such as problems, medications, allergies, will be available in Meditech Expanse through a reconciliation process.  The Richland Hospital Incorporated has not determined a contract end date with Aprima at this time.  Additional data stored in Aprima will still be accessible until a contract end date has been determined; however, data entry will be inactive and previous records will be “view only.” No new data can be entered into Aprima effective July 1st.

What growing pains should I anticipate?
We have made adjustments to our patient calendar for the first four weeks following conversion to MEDITECH Expanse. During the month of July, the Richland Hospital Clinic has scheduled longer appointments for each patient, allowing staff to accurately reconcile medication and allergy lists for each patient and to allow for our learning curve of the new system. We’ve extended the time allowed for each patient visit to accommodate our learning curve. Patients may see a slight delay in receiving call-backs and test results in the month of July due to our records conversion and learning curve.

Billing Questions

Will I be receiving two invoices now…or one?
Patients may still receive two statements (Hospital and Clinic) for a brief time following our upgrade in MEDITECH Expanse on July 1, 2022.

How will invoices be/look different?
Statements generated by MEDITECH Expanse will look much different.  If a patient has questions about their new billing statement, contact information is provided and we’re happy to assist during this upgrade and transition.

Will I be able to pay online?
Online bill-pay is a service we expect to launch later in 2022 as part of the MEDITECH Expanse upgrade.  When that opportunity becomes available, we will notify our patients.

Portal Questions

Can I still access my Aprima (Clinic) Portal?
The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) Health Information Management (HIM) will have access to all patient records. Please request through HIM at (608) 647-6321 x2030.

Patients will be able to access their current clinic portal until December 2022. No new information will be available through the TRHI clinic portal beginning July 1, 2022.

Can I see all of my records in the hospital portal now?
Patients are only able to view current hospital-related visit information on the current hospital portal.

Will both portals look different?
There will be no change in the look of the MEDITECH portal. There will be additional functionality such as messaging a provider and requesting a refill.

How do I get help with a problem?
All troubleshooting of portal issues will be directed to Health Information Management (HIM) at (608) 647-6321 x2030.

Communication

Will this change affect communication internally and with outside entities such as UW Health?
Internally, communication will be much simpler as there will be one electronic health record, one patient chart & messaging functionality within MEDITECH Expanse. b. At the time of Go LIVE with MEDITECH Expanse, The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) will also be implementing CommonWell which is electronic data exchanges with external health organizations.

Can UW Health and Gundersen or other providers see my records then, too?
Upon request, The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) can send a patient health summary to outside providers of the patient’s choosing. From the patient portal available on our website, patients can also download their own records for their use or further distribution.

How do I get help with a problem?
All troubleshooting of portal issues will be directed to Health Information Management (HIM) (608) 647-6321 at x2030.

Do I still need to present my insurance card at every visit?
Yes, The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) will want to verify your insurance at every visit to assure we have the proper insurance on file.

Has the Richland Hospital & Clinics staff undergone training to prepare for the transition?
Education of hospital and clinic staff began in October 2020 during the process to select a vendor for our new electronic health record. An internal MEDITECH Leaders group made up of a diverse 54 members of hospital and clinic staff began to build the MEDITECH Expanse framework in July 2021. MEDITECH Leaders received application training and training in workflow processes. They then developed extensive training for all staff (RNs, ICU, ER, OB, Med/Surg, providers, patient access, all clinical staff). Training tools include video and in-person options. Six weeks of training in MEDITECH Expanse is average for staff of TRHI and Clinics. Transition to MEDITECH Expanse affects all staff of The Richland Hospital and Clinics.

Are my records safe? Accurate?
Prior to, during and following our conversion to MEDITECH Expanse, there are processes and protocols in place at The Richland Hospital and Clinics (TRHI) to ensure the security and accuracy of patient electronic medical records. Records safety analysis is conducted annually with staff assigned to system security, system testing and training of staff. Multiple backups are in place to ensure data integrity and availability. Regarding accuracy of records after our conversion to MEDITECH Expanse on July, 1; patient clinic data previously stored in Aprima is frozen in time. Current data is not changing, just our process. MEDITECH Leaders at TRHI determined that risk existed in merging data vs. creating a static file for each patient. Any current/new records entered July 1, 2022 and beyond are kept in a separate record.

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