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Client Story

Upgrading with ease: A Coastal Carolina Healthcare and Altera story

Going live on TouchWorks EHR 22.1

Coastal Carolina Healthcare (CCHC) reached an exciting milestone in April 2023 as it smoothly upgraded from TouchWorks EHR 20.1 to the latest version, 22.1. This leap marked a significant advancement for the organization and was its most successful upgrade to date due to the streamlined process and new tech stack in version 22.1. CCHC's skilled five-person IT team and partnership with Altera Digital Health played key roles in the success of this recent implementation.

The team at CCHC attributes part of the organization's success to the consistent communication and support from Altera. "Communication has improved drastically. The whole project went smoothly because of everyone involved-the project management team, support techs, et cetera. They stayed in touch every day for weeks after the upgrade or until every single item was resolved," said Shanna Cherry, EMR Trainer. Cherry has been with the organization for 11 years and is one such team member who attests to this being one of the most seamless upgrades she has been a part of.

Preparing for a smooth upgrade

When the organization upgraded to version 20.1 a couple of years ago, it faced the challenge of navigating through the complexities of COVID-19. Preparing staff and providers in a virtual setting was no easy feat during those times.

CCHC's internal preparations were much smoother this time around. The team capitalized on the expertise of its 35 super users that comprises a dedicated group of nursing staff, office managers and physicians. After-hour meetings were organized to ensure thorough understanding of the upgrade process, and the test environment was used to explore the new features well in advance. To ensure a seamless transition, CCHC initiated quarterly meetings with most office locations, showcasing the test environment and leveraging the support of a physician champion.

The team continuously sought valuable provider feedback, advocating for changes to meet the needs of the staff. Cherry said that engaging the nursing staff was crucial as it specifically prepared for charge-entry changes in 22.1.

Lower or non-existent wait times due to performance enhancements in TouchWorks EHR 22.1
Seamless TouchWorks EHR 22.1 upgrade process due to improved Altera support
Improved clinician usability due to enhanced user interface

Improvements and enhancements in 22.1

TouchWorks EHR 22.1 brought an array of exciting new and fixed features, beneficial for both patients and providers at CCHC. One of the improvements includes a prescription pricing tool. This fix was met with relief and appreciation as it directly benefited patients who heavily relied on medications, and providers who used the tool to make informed decisions in their patients' best interest. With this tool now functioning, the medical team can confidently navigate prescription pricing, ensuring cost-effective and accessible treatment options.

Another game-changing fix in version 22.1 is with charges and diagnosis codes submission. The feature wasn't running as efficiently as it could have. However, these issues were entirely resolved in 22.1, and the feature is running "phenomenally," according to Cherry. This enhancement enables clinicians to focus on providing exceptional care, no longer interrupted by technical obstacles.

The organization now has access to the RAF score feature, enabling providers to gain valuable insights into patient risk and prioritize interventions accordingly. The med action tab proved to be another valuable addition, empowering providers to streamline and optimize their medical decision-making processes.

"Communication has improved drastically. The whole project went smoothly because of everyone involved-the project management team, support techs, et cetera. They stayed in touch every day for weeks after the upgrade or until every single item was resolved."

Shanna Cherry

EMR Trainer

The three-pane view feature was rendered unusable in previous versions due to performance issues. Fortunately, this functionality was fully restored, becoming a favorite tool among all providers. Its seamless usability enables medical staff to effortlessly access essential patient information.

Lastly, version 22.1 managed to eliminate wait times. The enhanced performance and functionality of the new version means providers can swiftly access patient data and medical records, promoting smoother workflows and more attentive patient care.


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Positive feedback and a bright future

Clinicians and staff members at CCHC have been nothing short of satisfied with the new and improved changes that version 22.1 is bringing to the organization. "Providers and clinical staff are saying it's so much faster. Performance in 22.1 has improved tremendously," said Julianne Willis, COO.

Cherry expressed that other organizations can experience success with upgrading to 22.1 with the right preparation. "We utilized every training document, video, release notes, et cetera, that Altera provided. It all helps you prepare. Being connected with your users, staff, et cetera, and keeping everyone up to date through meetings, check-ins, and lunch-and-learns are extremely helpful," said Cherry.

CCHC's successful transition to TouchWorks EHR 22.1 stands as a testament to its dedication and meticulous preparation. The collaboration with Altera played a pivotal role in achieving this milestone, with effective communication and support leading to one of the most seamless upgrades the organization has experienced.

"Providers and clinical staff are saying it's so much faster now. Performance in 22.1 has improved tremendously."

Julianne Willis

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