Mercy Hospital Ada launched its electronic health record June 1, allowing Mercy clinicians immediate access to patient records electronically from every nurses’ station, exam room and doctor’s office across the four states Mercy currently services: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
Mercy Hospital Ada is now connected to 30 Mercy hospitals and countless Mercy clinics that have already adopted the system.
“The electronic health record completely changes the way we deliver care at Mercy Hospital Ada,” said Di Smalley, regional president of Mercy West Communities and interim president of Mercy Hospital Ada. “The system stores lab results, allergies, medications, medical histories and other important medical information in an easy-to-use system for our health care team.”
The system is full of advantages for patients, too.
Next time a doctor asks a patient when the last time she had her cholesterol levels checked, she doesn’t have to wrack her brain to remember. Her Mercy provider can pull up her electronic health record, look at her history of tests and decide whether she is due for another test. This could potentially save patients the cost, time and anxiety of going through redundant testing.
Another advantage is communication.
Mercy Clinic providers are informed when their patients have appointments with other Mercy Clinic specialists, or if they visit any Mercy urgent care facility or emergency room. That means primary care providers can perform the follow-ups necessary after unexpected medical visits.
Plus, as EHR continues to roll out, patients will have access to MyMercy to view their medical records, and the records of their children and other people whose health they manage. This patient portal to the electronic health record allows patients to schedule appointments with their Mercy provider; communicate through private two-way messaging with their care team; view lab results in a timely manner; request prescription refills; pay bills online; and, in some cases, conduct virtual medical consultations online, which is being piloted at Mercy. More than 200,000 patients are currently enrolled in MyMercy.
Co-workers in Ada have been training for eight weeks on the new system.
“Mercy Hospital Ada co-workers know the benefits this system will provide our patients and providers and they are excited about the change,” said Smalley.
A federally mandated electronic conversion of patients’ health records was instituted in 2009. Mercy was ahead of the curve by beginning the electronic transition in 2004 with a $450 million investment.
In 2012, Mercy was named Health Care’s “Most Wired” by the American Hospital Association, an honor recognizing hospitals for adoption, implementation and use of information technology. Mercy CEO Lynn Britton was also honored in 2012 with the CEO IT Achievement Award – an award bestowed annually to only three health care leaders in the United States.
Electronic health records for all 3 million patients served per year at Mercy are safe in the Mercy Data Center. Known as the “Fort Knox of data storage,” the $60 million, high-tech data center – built to withstand tornado-force winds and constructed in an area removed from earthquake fault lines – sits on a bedrock foundation in Washington, Mo., and has access to alternate sources of power. It’s capable of transferring the entire contents of the Library of Congress in less than 6.5 seconds.