Penn Student Health and Counseling services transitioned to PennChart — a unified Electronic Health Record system — on Jan. 9.
The transition to PennChart, which is powered by Epic — a software system developed for healthcare organizations — will allow Penn students to better coordinate care between Student Health and Counseling, Penn Medicine providers, and external healthcare providers. Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé announced the transition in a Jan. 5 email to the Penn community.
"Penn Student Health and Counseling wanted to implement workflows that allow for a seamless integration so that patients could have all their health information in the same place [and] at the same time regardless of provider,” Dubé told The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Students will be able to send non-urgent messages to providers, request referrals and prescription renewals, read after-visit notes, schedule appointments, and access any pertinent health information such as test results through the new system. Students can also opt-in to participate in research activities at Penn Medicine.
"It creates more of a seamless exchange for clinicians and for students," Wellness at Penn Director of Communications Mary Kate Coghlan said.
Dubé said that — although there might initially be a steep learning curve for clinicians — PennChart also offers new features for clinicians, such as "viewing lab results in real-time, allowing for quicker treatment recommendations, and having strong patient-provider messaging systems.”
Prior to transitioning to PennChart, two different electronic health records were used by Student Health and Counseling — Point and Click, and Titanium. These two systems were isolated from each other and did not communicate with outside sources.
Dubé told the DP that two out of three Penn students use Penn medicine services, making the shift to PennChart significant.
PennChart was launched by Penn Medicine in 2018 as a redesigned EHR, collecting patient information from several healthcare databases and delivering automated real-time notifications when a patient required a specific treatment. PennChart — Penn Medicine's customized version of EPIC's EHR platform — has been available for Penn Medicine patients and medical providers since.
The electronic health record transition for Wellness at Penn had been in discussion for a few years, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubé said. Students can create their online portal account for PennChart access here.