New health IT software provides greater patient care continuity among homeless population

University of Utah Health’s assistance has made Epic, an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, available to Fourth Street Clinic, the leading provider of extensive health care and support services to homeless men, women and children in Utah. Epic is a leading health IT software application used in hospitals and clinics operated by the University of Utah. The implementation gives Fourth Street Clinic providers immediate access to their patients’ health background and history, provides seamless interaction with other care facilities, and improves clinic-wide cost efficiency.

Tom Miller, MD, Chief Medical Officer at the University of Utah Health and former board member at Fourth Street Clinic, began negotiations to procure an Epic software license for the nonprofit clinic in 2017. His approach gave Fourth Street Clinic leverage to secure Epic via the University of Utah Hospital. After much-needed IT infrastructure upgrades, Fourth Street Clinic migrated to the Health IT software in May of 2018.

Over 20 individuals from U of U Health’s IT support team provided months of on-site training and support, saving the clinic thousands of dollars in training costs. The ability to seamlessly implement Epic as their EHR system assisted the staff at Fourth Street Clinic in providing quality patient care and increased efficiency.

Epic reduces barriers to care for homeless patients through increased health history access

Michele Goldberg, Medical Director at Fourth Street Clinic, applauded this innovative partnership, stating, “To work in a health center serving the homeless population using Epic as the EHR is truly a unique approach. We are able to provide continuity and efficiencies in care that we could never do before.” Goldberg continued, “For example, the amount of time I save simply looking for an ICD 10 code will dramatically increase the time I can spend providing care to our patients. The ability to customize my notes and capture an appropriate social history in a meaningful way that can then be analyzed for population patterns is very exciting to us.”

Using Epic at Fourth Street will also give providers access to pertinent patient information via the University of Utah Health’s EHR that will be useful in treatment, medication management, and securely transferring patient information from one provider to another.

University of Utah Health’s Chief Information Officer, Jim Turnbull said, “Our mission includes continually improving individual and community health.  Supporting the health of homeless members of our community is an obligation that we take seriously.  Extending our electronic medical record system to these individuals and families is an important way in which to coordinate our services in meeting their needs.  We are grateful to our application vendors, Epic and Hyland Onbase for enabling us to extend their licenses at no cost to the Fourth Street Clinic.”