Mercy Brings EHR Services to Market

March 31, 2014

Dr. Arthur Hale Jr. speaks with a patient Dr. Arthur Hale Jr., a Mercy Clinic family medicine physician in Branson, Mo., logs into Epic with a patient.

Story by Mercy's Jennifer Harutunian

MIDWEST, U.S.Mercy Technology Services, the information backbone of the sixth largest Catholic health system in the U.S., is bringing its Epic electronic health record (EHR) expertise and services to market. 

Mercy announced today it has become the first accredited provider of the Epic Connect program. Through the program, Mercy provides implementation, application management and hosting of Mercy’s physician-enhanced Epic EHR system in a “software as a service” (SaaS) model, as well as consulting for existing clients who could benefit from Mercy’s best practices.

Particularly for small to mid-size hospitals looking to improve quality and control costs, this type of hosted EHR solution provides an opportunity to minimize the risks of in-house infrastructure, partner with an expert for implementation and take advantage of an already-optimized system that is updated for them. Working with a provider partner with a proven track record for navigating EHR data only maximizes such an investment.  

Of the commercialization endeavor, Gil Hoffman, CIO of Mercy Technology Services said, “This is bigger than the technology; our mission is to support exceptional patient care and improved clinical outcomes. We believe our best opportunity is to take what we’ve learned and partner with like-minded providers who have similar goals. Technology happens to be the catalyst to get us there.”

Mercy also provides health care analytics solutions that integrate data from Epic, claims and other internal and external sources, and then organizes and delivers it so it can be consumed for actionable clinical insight and performance-improving business decisions. 

“What’s unique about Mercy’s system is the years we have spent optimizing it for performance in the real world,” Hoffman said. “Mercy Technology Services put in 600 optimizations last year alone. Clients benefit from our advanced clinical workflows, unique order sets, hundreds of custom developed reports, and the real standout – the 20-plus built-in care pathways to support evidence-based clinical decisions.”  

Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO, said Mercy’s decision to implement Epic in its hospitals and physician network across four states “was a particularly bold step because few others had forged a path for us to follow. It was our largest strategic undertaking and we learned a great deal. Today, we have higher quality, a more efficient system of care and are better equipped to handle change.”

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 listing of health care systems nationwide for its degree of connectivity.

“What’s exciting is the ability we now have to integrate Epic data with claims data and other external sources to manage patient populations and meet ACO requirements,” Britton said. “We’re harnessing the EHR to take us to the next level of clinical and business performance.” 

To receive Epic’s accreditation, Mercy had to meet stringent measures that reflect its current system success, user adoption and satisfaction. Mercy’s certified team has installed the system in their 30 hospitals, 800 ambulatory departments and in support of 1,800 integrated physicians. Mercy’s state-of-the-art data center supports the mission-critical EHR with technology enabled by Cisco and NetApp. With an operational command center staffed around-the-clock to monitor infrastructure and 24/7 customer service, Mercy Technology Services can serve customers anywhere in the world.   

Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 33 acute care hospitals, four heart hospitals, two children’s hospitals, two rehab hospitals and one orthopedic hospital, nearly 700 clinic and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

For more about Mercy’s technology services, visit www.mercy.net/mercy-technology-services.