Advocate Health Care is switching to the Epic electronic health records system platform, announcing its decision on Thursday.

The Downers Grove, Ill.-based integrated delivery system thus is making plans to move to the same EHR system platform as Aurora Health Care, a Wisconsin-based delivery care network with which Advocate plans to merge.

Advocate, which has grown through combining delivery systems in the Chicago metropolitan area, has been running on a combination of Cerner, Allscripts and eClinicalWorks applications.

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“This transition will allow for better interoperability throughout our entire geographic region, benefiting patients through a seamless, integrated approach,” said Bobbie Byrne, MD, senior vice president of health informatics and technology and chief information officer of Advocate Health Care. “We are confident this single-platform EHR will be a nimble, long-term solution that can be continually adapted and developed as technology advances to keep us on the leading edge.”

The move to a single platform will enable the system to offer advanced services to patients through Epic capabilities, Byrne says. The announcement meshes with Advocate’s commitment to using capabilities such as online scheduling, digital check-in, website chat services, a mobile patient portal, online health risk assessments and more.

“Transitioning to our new system-wide electronic health record will enable us to improve care coordination and operational efficiency, allowing Advocate physicians and nurses more time to provide the highest quality and safest care for our patients,” says Jim Skogsbergh, president and CEO of Advocate Health Care.

By using the Epic integrated platform, patients will have access to one medical and billing record, no matter where they access care in the Advocate system.

“A single platform allows us to expand our digital efforts as we continue to deliver on our promise to transform care delivery and meet consumers’ desire to literally access and improve their health from the palm of their hand,” said Kelly Jo Golson, senior vice president and chief marketing and digital officer.

Advocate expects the transition to be completed within three years. More than 17,000 Advocate physicians, nurses and associates will be trained on the new system.

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