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Why UNC Healthcare Is Cutting Back On Patients Temporarily

UNC Hospital
Dave DeWitt
Front Entrance, UNC Hospital

UNC Healthcare has cut back the number of patients it's seeing at several of its facilities over the past two weeks. The hospital system is in the process of transitioning to a new electronic medical records system, and the cutbacks are part of anticipated roll-out period procedure.

The system, known as EPIC, is the same records software being implemented at Duke and Novant health systems. EPIC will allow patients to more seamlessly transition between the state's hospitals.

Susanne Herman of UNC Healthcare says the new-patient rollback was necessary to make sure the launch wasn't overwhelming to hospital staff.

"We did expect that there would be a bit of a delay, just like with any kind of a new undertaking," said Herman.  "We wanted to make sure we provided for the patients who were actually on site,  that we provided a good patient experience for them as we always try to do. So we certainly planned on seeing less patients than we normally would."

The hospital launched EPIC on April 4 and has since been slowly adding more new patients back onto its roster. UNC didn't provide an estimated date of when things would be back to normal.

A big motivation for the transition is UNC Healthcare's mergers and partnerships in recent years.

"There are more and more multi-hospital systems in place now," said Herman. "And for those system needs, it really is beneficial to have one shared directory where you one patient ID, one problem list, one medication list, one bill for patient across those systems."

UNC Healthcare plans to launch the same records system at Rex Hospital later this year.

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