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After a year of hard work behind the scenes, Kootenai Health successfully implemented its new electronic health record (EHR), Epic, on March 12. This implementation was the culmination of over 12 months of technical setup and countless hours of staff planning. and training.

This single, improved health record replaces 11 separate electronic health records, making patient care more secure, transparent and comprehensive. Epic is the preferred EHR system used by over 250 healthcare organizations, including most healthcare organizations within 40 miles of Kootenai Health. This interconnectedness means that all health care providers can effectively share information, which facilitates continuity of care, referrals and transfers.

“Our new electronic health record system puts all of a patient’s information in one place,” said Amanda Jackson, MD, chief medical information officer for Kootenai Health. “When a doctor can access a patient’s complete medical record, it makes patient care safer and more efficient.”

One of the most beneficial features of Kootenai Health’s new EHR is its intuitive online patient portal called MyChart.

“MyChart puts patients at the center of the healthcare experience. Patients can register on their computer or on a mobile app and easily access their medical records online,” said Dr. Jackson. “Patients will no longer have to navigate through different systems and connections. From therapies to primary care, procedures to test results – it’s all in one place.

MyChart includes many convenient features that were not available in previous systems. Within the platform, patients will be able to securely message their care team with routine questions, view upcoming appointments, view discharge instructions, view lab and radiology results immediately, pay their bill and request prescription refills at the touch of a button.

“One of the best features is instant access to test results,” Dr. Jackson said. “If you’re signed up for mobile app notifications, you’ll get an alert when there’s new information — like a test result — as it becomes available.”

Dr. Jackson said it’s important to remember that with this new speed, there may be instances where patients see results before their doctor has had a chance to review them.

“We know our patients appreciate the speed and transparency of their care, which is why we deliver results so quickly,” Dr. Jackson said. “But sometimes there will be cases where the test result will require the next steps in your care plan. In these cases, our healthcare team is committed to responding to patients as soon as possible, usually within one business day.

Patients who are ready to use MyChart can request an instant activation code on their next visit to Kootenai Health or log on to to register online.

“Our doctors love the comprehensive record, our patients love the user-friendly interface,” Dr. Jackson said. “It’s really a win-win.”

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