By Mercy's Jennifer Harutunian
Mercy Technology Services (MTS), the information backbone of Mercy – one of the largest Catholic health systems in the U.S. – recently sped up its extension of Epic’s electronic health record (EHR) system at Our Lady of the Angels Hospital (98 beds) in Bogalusa, Louisiana, helping bring data-driven care to a community in need.
Because the hospital had antiquated systems and the local host could no longer provide support, the implementation had to be accomplished in a shorter-than-usual timeframe. By accelerating go-live, Our Lady of the Angels moved from paper-based records to an optimized Epic system this past June - a process that normally requires MTS twelve to eighteen months, but was accomplished in less than a year in this case.
“I believe the over-riding factor to our successful implementation was the synergy that came as a result of our two teams’ shared cultures and missions,” said Rene Ragas, president and chief executive officer of Our Lady of the Angels. “It felt like a family atmosphere rather than a vendor relationship.”
Ralph Serpas, chief nursing officer at Our Lady of the Angels, echoed those sentiments. “My experience with other vendor implementations was a flip of the switch and then problems surfaced. Mercy’s approach felt more organized, prepared and systematic,” said Serpas. “The clinical experience of Mercy’s team made for easy and clear communication with all of our departments, so there were no misunderstandings of what was necessary to accomplish the task at hand. Mercy’s project lead, Diana Rosewicz, established an environment that made us feel as if we were working with a sister hospital. Everyone felt at ease.”
Mercy services are of particular benefit for small to medium hospitals like Our Lady of the Angels that are looking to improve quality and control costs. Now, not only is there a fellow provider accredited by Epic to deliver these services, but hospitals can take advantage of Mercy’s lessons learned, as well as a decade of experience using Epic to improve patient care.
“There’s additional value in having Mercy’s evidenced-based treatment paths wired into our EHR, along with all their best practices,” said Ragas. “We’re already seeing results from our data on how we can enhance patient safety and improve our outcomes.”
For Mercy, it’s about providing better patient care.
“It’s responding to a need and partnering when it brings greater good to our health care community,” said Gil Hoffman, Mercy’s chief information officer. “Where Mercy extends proven technology services to other hospitals, more patients have access to quality care.”
Our Lady of the Angels Hospital is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. The health system, headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was organized in 1984 to unite three existing Louisiana hospitals which were already operating under the mission of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Today, with nearly 1,800 licensed beds and more than 10,000 team members statewide, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System provides healthcare to nearly 60% of Louisiana’s population. Through a network of hospitals, clinics, physicians, elderly housing and integrated information systems, the health system extends the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to all of God’s people, especially those most in need.
In addition to Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System also includes Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Gonzales, the Senior Services Division and over 25 affiliated companies.
The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, one of the many orders of Sisters operating throughout the world and in the United States of America, began in 1854 when seven autonomous groups of Franciscan Sisters in France banded together and were named the Franciscan Sisters of Calais.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
MTS provides and manages technology solutions for Mercy, the nation’s first health care provider accredited by Epic, to offer a full suite of electronic health record solutions to other hospitals, including Epic in the cloud, implementation and optimization. MTS’ award-winning data analytics integrate care delivery, manage costs and support a model of care that keeps patients healthier and out of the hospital. Visit mercytechnology.net.