Mid Coast Hospital has worked in tandem with other MaineHealth providers to efficiently battle the pandemic, according to its chief medical officer. Contributed / Mid Coast-Parkview Health

Not long ago, Chris Bowe started his shifts at Mid Coast Hospital’s Emergency Department by opening four separate electronic medical record systems. Each new admission required Bowe and his fellow doctors to dig through each system, racing to compile relevant information in order to treat their suffering patients.

Now, a year after Mid Coast-Parkview Health’s unification with MaineHealth, caregivers and patients alike are benefitting from a new, streamlined electronic records system, just one of several benefits of the merger, according to Mid Coast-Parkview Health President Lois Skillings.

In this photo taken in November, Mid Coast Hospital maternity nurses Alyssa Amato, left, and Kate Boron, work with on-site trainers to learn how to use the new electronic records system. Contributed / Mid Coast-Parkview Health

In order to provide those benefits, the organization’s staff endured what Skillings called a “triathlon” in 2021: a merger, a switch to a new records system and a global pandemic.

“Any one of those things is a really big deal,” she said. “And we’ve done all three in a year.”

“We did all three at the same time,” Bowe, Mid Coast’s chief medical officer, said. “We’re kind of biking through the water.”

On March 1, 2020, Mid Coast-Parkview merged with MaineHealth, a system made up of 22,000 employees and 12 community hospitals throughout Maine and New Hampshire, before the organizations became fully unified last January.


A key part of the decision to merge, according to Skillings, was the larger system’s agreement to help finance Mid Coast-Parkview’s transition to records software from Epic Systems.

“Epic is really the most sought-after health records system in the country,” Bowe said. “It’s a dramatic improvement for our providers, and really a dramatic improvement for our patients.”

Since the hospital launched the software on Nov. 6, all of Mid Coast-Parkview patients’ records have been housed in a single system, which Bowe said will lead to more efficient care. Because so many hospitals use Epic, he added, the switch will also benefit MaineHealth patients who travel to different hospitals in other parts of the country, including those who travel south for the winter.

Family Nurse Practitioner Margaret Gardiner of Mid Coast Palliative Care uses the MaineHealth Shared Electronic Health Record system. Contributed / Mid Coast-Parkview Health

Other aspects of the merger, including changes to everything from Mid Coast-Parkview’s governance structure to its branding, were always unlikely to have immediate impacts on patients, Skillings said, but the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic revealed the benefits of joining a large system.

“The timing could not have been perfect,” Skillings said, noting that MaineHealth’s resources helped provide Mid Coast’s staff with vital equipment, like face masks, even during the pandemic’s early days. “They have such a powerful supply chain. We never went without.”

“Clinically, it was very advantageous for us all to work together,” said Bowe, who said the system’s ability to coordinate care helped providers to learn quickly and hospitals to keep beds open. “We didn’t have to invent it all ourselves start to finish.”


Mid Coast Hospital had 4,884 inpatient admissions and 422,106 outpatient visits in 2021, according to the organization’s annual report. Thirteen inpatients are currently suffering from COVID, including four in the ICU.

Though COVID cases are surging, hospital staff hope the end of the triathlon is in sight, Bowe said. By leveraging the resources of MaineHealth’s system and further mastering the new Epic system, the hospital’s leadership team hopes to expand access and pass cost savings onto Mid Coast’s patients.

If that happens, Skillings said credit should go to the staffers who have persevered through Mid Coast’s 2021 triathlon.

“The people here are working so hard,” she said. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am and how in awe I am of the work that they’re doing to help our community.”

Comments are not available on this story.