New $1.2b Partners Epic System a Prescription for Frustration

Priyanka Dayal McCluskey | Boston Globe | May 17, 2016

Judy Lydon had a busy routine as a maternity nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She moved from room to room taking care of women and their new babies, checking vital signs, changing diapers, helping mothers hold and feed their newborns for the first time. Then came the new computer system. Now, she says, she’s become a captive of the keyboard, spending far more of her time recording every blood pressure reading, every feeding, every diaper change.

The demands of the new system are so taxing and time-consuming, Lydon said, that the computer has come between her and her patients.More than once, Lydon says, she has burst into tears on the drive home. “I know people throughout the hospital, and they find the same thing: it’s tedious, labor intensive, and you feel like you can’t do what you want to do,” said Lydon, a nurse for more than 30 years.

The new software that the Brigham’s parent company, Partners HealthCare, bought for its hospitals and clinics is modernizing the way it tracks patients’ medical care. Doctors and nurses will know more about their patients more quickly — from emergency room visits to medications. Partners executives say this will result in safer care. Information like patients’ vital signs will now instantly flow from bedside monitors to their computerized health record...