Mercy Harnesses Data in New Ways to Provide Lifesaving Care

July 10, 2017

By Mercy's Jennifer Harutunian

On its own, big data is just big data. But when it can be crunched, digested and harnessed, it can be used to improve patient care and decrease health care costs. The use of sophisticated machine learning, or artificial intelligence, is one of the reasons Mercy has been named “Most Wired Advanced” once again.

It’s the third time in four years that the American Hospital Association (AHA) has recognized Mercy in the “Advanced” category for exceeding core criteria – a distinction given to only 27 of the nearly 700 organizations surveyed. In addition, it’s the 14th time Mercy has made the Most Wired list.

“Health care has been sitting on a mountain of data that really hasn’t been used to its fullest - until recently,” said Gil Hoffman, Mercy’s chief information officer. “Combining the speed and accuracy of computing hardware, powerful data science and clinical best practices, Mercy is pioneering breakthroughs not seen before.”

With machine learning, Mercy combs through millions of data points to determine methods of care that produce the best results for patients. Pairing this intelligence with the best medical literature, Mercy then configures the surest medical paths to get there. Together, doctors, nurses and clinical teams can use this data to map out the best care options and the quickest route to good health.

“The same way Google maps tell you when traffic has slowed down just ahead and spits out alternative routes, we can predict surges and bottlenecks in our hospitals before they happen,” said Aaron Steffens, Mercy’s vice president of operational improvement. “Mercy can make informed decisions in real time to care for patients more quickly and get them home sooner.”

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Here are just some of the ways in which data has improved care for Mercy patients:

  • Reduced mortality rates by 50 percent for patients with heart failure and pneumonia
  • Decreased by nearly three hours the time it took to administer a diuretic to patients with heart failure
  • Reduced emergency room (ER) wait time by 24 minutes and length of stay for ER patients by 20 percent in a 12-month pilot in one of Mercy’s communities
  • Saved $14 million in health care costs in 2016

As an early adopter of electronic health records, Mercy has years of data from which to draw valuable insights. Today, Mercy has become one of health care’s first to analyze those records to uncover complex patterns at the precise moment information is needed.

Mercy’s leadership in optimizing technology has earned it some of health care’s highest honors. The Most Wired Advanced designation comes on the heels of the Davies Award of Excellence, which recognized Mercy and its IT division, Mercy Technology Services, for innovations that are improving patient care and costs.

AHA’s annual survey, representing almost 40 percent of U.S. hospitals, has become a leading benchmark for health systems to measure their level of IT adoption. For a full list of Most Wired winners, visit Health & Hospital Networks magazine at www.hhnmag.com.

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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.

 

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. 

Media Contacts

Bethany Pope
St. Louis, St. Charles
Page: (314) 251-6000