By Mercy's Katie Burckhalter
Two Mercy health systems are again ranked in the top 10 of the IMS Integrated Healthcare Networks, as reported in Modern Healthcare, a leading national health care magazine. St. John’s Health System in Springfield, Mo., is No. 1 for the third time, and St. John’s Mercy Health Care, now named Mercy East Communities, in St. Louis is No. 9.
IMS Health, the leading provider of information, services and technology for the health care sector, evaluates nearly 600 integrated delivery networks and ranks them according to the ability to operate as a unified health organization. The survey was previously performed by SDI, a market research firm acquired by IMS in late 2011. For patients, integration ultimately means better care. Hospitals, physicians and medical facilities work together, sharing quality standards, information, expertise and technology that are difficult to provide alone.
“We’ve moved from a No. 62 ranking in 1999 to No. 1 for three of the last five years because our integrated model of care allows us to connect all the dots for our caregivers and our patients,” said Jon Swope, president and CEO of St. John’s Health System in Springfield, Mo., soon to be called Mercy Springfield Communities. “A strong partnership between our physicians and hospitals, and a comprehensive electronic health record (EHR) that ties it all together, enables us to provide our patients with a highly coordinated health care experience. Our participation in the CMS Physicians Group Project has demonstrated that integration of care improves patient outcomes, with high patient satisfaction and lower costs.”
A network of more than 500 physicians in the Springfield area and some 450 physicians in the St. Louis area, along with Mercy’s EHR, has been key to integration. Mercy is among only 6 percent of hospitals nationwide with an integrated EHR sophisticated enough to access and share medical records among multiple Mercy facilities in a four-state area across all outpatient and inpatient points of care. Serving more than 3 million people each year, connectivity is critical.
Although a federally mandated electronic conversion of patient health records was instituted in 2009, Mercy was ahead of the curve, beginning the transition in 2005 with a $450 million investment. Such forward thinking has resulted in national attention, including Mercy being recently named Health Care’s “Most Wired” by the American Hospital Association, an honor recognizing hospitals for adoption, implementation and use of information technology.
Mercy’s EHR and successful integration of services paid off last May when Mercy’s hospital in Joplin was destroyed by an EF5 tornado. Within a week, Mercy was able to pull together its resources and have a 60-bed temporary facility up and running. Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, pointed to Mercy’s quick recovery in Joplin as one of the reasons Mercy is the No. 2 ranked health care supply chain in the world.
“The current model of American health care is not sustainable,” said Lynn Britton, president and CEO of Mercy. “An integrated model is the best way to deliver care. True integration takes dedication, work, trust and a lot of energy by all parties. Delivering health care is complex, but we know that integration is the best model for meeting the needs of patients today and improving the health of the communities we serve.”
Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.
St. John's Health System is comprised of St. John's Hospital in Springfield, an 866-bed referral center; five regional hospitals in Lebanon, Aurora, Cassville, Mountain View, and Berryville, Ark.; St. John's Clinic, a 500-plus physician clinic with 70 locations throughout the region; and St. John's Health Plans, the largest managed care provider in the region.
Mercy St. Louis, formerly St. John’s Mercy Health Care, operates Mercy Hospital St. Louis, Mercy Children’s Hospital, Mercy Hospital Washington in Washington, Mo., Mercy Health Services, Mercy Affiliated Physicians and Mercy Clinic, a medical group with more than 450 physicians.