Mercy President and CEO Gets National Nod for IT Innovations

June 11, 2012

Story by Mercy's Laura Keep




Mercy President and CEO Lynn Britton


MIDWEST, U.S. – Changing from a world where thick paper charts catalog a patient’s medical history to one where all that data is gathered electronically and made available across the health care continuum sounds like a no-brainer. But in reality, reversing hundreds of years of medical protocol is anything but easy.  The commitment to implement this kind of massive change effectively is among the reasons Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO, has been named one of three winners of the CEO IT Achievement Award, an annual honor co-sponsored by Modern Healthcare magazine and the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).


How did Mercy become one of the nation’s leaders in electronic health records? Back in 2004, Britton – then senior vice president at Mercy – led the organization in the selection, design and implementation of a comprehensive electronic health record that would link all Mercy hospitals, outpatient clinics, urgent care facilities, labs and imaging facilities. Five years later when the federal government announced they would mandate electronic health records by 2015, HIMSS had already ranked Mercy in the top three percent of health care systems nationwide for its degree of connectivity.


Beyond the early adoption of the electronic health record, Britton was recognized for championing IT in a variety of ways. These include:



  • MyMercy - This patient portal to the electronic health record allows patients to schedule appointments, communicate via private two way messaging with their care team, see lab results in a timely manner, request prescription refills, manage the health care of children and aging parents, pay bills online and in some cases conduct e-visits – virtual health consultations currently being piloted at Mercy. More than 200,000 patients are enrolled in MyMercy.


  • Telemedicine - Mercy is already using telemedicine to provide consults in a number of specialties including child psychology, neonatology and neurosurgery. Mercy is working on the development of the nation’s first virtual care center in St. Louis. This $90 million facility will be staffed by doctors and nurses and linked electronically to Mercy hospitals, clinics and even patient homes via telemedicine technology, making access to health care outside urban centers more patient friendly.


  • Mercy Meds - This medication administration system uses computerized, bar coded dosing to help improve patient safety by reducing dosing errors.


  • Information sharing - Mercy’s willingness to share their IT learnings has helped other health care organizations initiate effective technologies.

More than 60 national health care leaders were nominated for this year’s CEO IT Achievement Award. The other 2012 recipients are Dr. Steven Altschuler, CEO of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Richard Miller, president and CEO ofVirtua in Marlton, N.J. All three winners are profiled in a special section of the June 11 issue of Modern Healthcare. They will be honored during National Health IT Week in Washington in September.


Mercy is the sixth 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 1,600 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


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