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Ballad Health Swaps Cerner EHR for Epic EHR Replacement

The Ballad Health board of directors recently approved an Epic EHR replacement project to switch out its Cerner system.

Several health systems have signed off on EHR replacement projects.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Tennessee-based Ballad Health recently approved a plan to launch an Epic EHR replacement project to improve connectivity and care coordination between hospitals and providers.

The Epic system will replace Ballad’s former Cerner EHR.

Ballad Health will take a multi-year, phased approach to deploying the EHR system. The first healthcare facilities part of the network will go live with Epic in 2019, with all care sites expected to be live with the new system by spring 2020.

The EHR replacement project was one of the top priorities of Ballad Health’s new board committee, which includes health information management experts, Ballad Health executives, and physicians. The board functions as an IT strategy committee centered on optimizing health IT investments to improve the quality of care for Ballad Health patients.

The committee launched the Epic implementation project as part of an effort to enable collaboration between care teams for improved patient health outcomes.

READ MORE: Epic EHR Replacement Success at Lovelace Health System

“This connectivity contributes to better patient safety and helps lower cost by reducing duplicate testing and helping to prevent adverse medication interactions from different prescribers,” stated a Ballad Health spokesperson in a recent press release.

“Additionally, a common technology platform will make Ballad Health a logical partner for research opportunities, which will contribute to diversification of the region’s economy,” the spokesperson concluded.

As part of the EHR replacement, patients part of the Ballad Health network will gain access to Epic’s patient portal, MyChart. Every patient that uses a Ballad Health service will have a single, comprehensive personalized health record available through computer or mobile phone.

Patients can use the portal to schedule appointments, pay bills, securely message providers, and view test results and other health information.  

Ballad Health will also use Epic to streamline health data exchange between providers and optimize its population health management initiatives through advanced data analytics capabilities.

Mercy helps MI non-profit health system with Epic EHR replacement

READ MORE: WI Hospital Launching Epic EHR Replacement After 2 Years of Prep

North Mississippi Health Services (NMHS) will work with Mercy Technology Services to launch an Epic EHR replacement project at its healthcare facilities spanning 24 counties in north Mississippi and northwest Alabama.

The health system will replace multiple different EHR systems with a single, integrated Epic EHR for more connected care and improved care coordination across counties and care sites.

"It was time to replace multiple systems that caregivers had to bounce between, which was the cause of serious frustration and slowdown," said NMHS CIO Jim Weldon. "A new strategic tool like Epic can do so much to improve access to and help in the sharing of patient information, as well as support point of care decision making."

NMHS will implement Epic at all of its ambulatory care sites. Following the implementation, the health system will operate on a single Epic EHR across its primary, specialty, and clinic settings.

Mercy will apply its experience from more than 50 previous Epic EHR implementations to lead the project. Mercy will also offer NMHS its Epic module expertise, revenue cycle, staff training, and go-live support.

READ MORE: Cerner, Epic EHR Legacy Replacements Aid Patient Accounting Needs

"I've worked with many vendors and consultants in my day," Weldon said. "With Mercy, the team has the capabilities and bench strength, but they have something others don't; Mercy is a provider just like us. They run a health system, they engage physicians and they care for patients. Partnering with another provider organization with Mercy's depth and success is really smart for us."

NMHS offers care at its flagship hospital — North Mississippi Medical Center — as well as five community hospitals through a regional network of primary and specialty clinics, nursing homes, telehealth services, and managed care plans part of North Mississippi Medical Clinics.

"Epic really shines in connecting touch points and improving care throughout a health system's service area," said Mercy CIO Gil Hoffman. "We're happy to share lessons and stretch Mercy's mission to Mississippi to help NMHS bring about positive change in their communities."

NMHS also plans to extend Epic to regional providers who are not yet using a single, shared EHR system in future phases of the project.

"This way, we'll have everybody talking through one system to raise the bar on patient care," said Weldon.

Advocare to swap GE Centricity for eClinicalWorks in EHR replacement

Elsewhere in EHR replacement news, Advocare will switch its GE Centricity EHR system for a cloud-based eClinicalWorks EHR system and revenue cycle management platform.

Advocare includes nearly 600 providers across 183 care facilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Its network includes pediatrics, adult primary care, and specialty practices.

“In 2017, Advocare began the process to identify a best-in-class EHR, PM, Population Health and RCM platform," said Advocare President and CEO Howard Orel, MD. “It was important that we were aligned with a future strategic partner’s mission, vision, culture, and philosophy and we found that with eClinicalWorks.”

Advocare will implement eClinicalWorks’ latest EHR solution — V11 — which includes eClinicalWorks virtual assistant Eva. The EHR tool is designed to assist clinicians with prescription ordering and enable faster patient health data access.

"After an extensive due diligence, Advocare selected eClinicalWorks," said Advocare Chief Strategy Officer and Project Sponsor Jon L. Mackler.

“We were pleased and impressed with the features and applicability of eClinicalWorks, and the technology will be an important asset in supporting our organization’s transformation. As we continue to expand, the cloud-centric technology has the flexibility to continually meet our goals of delivering effective value-based care,” he concluded.

Island Hospital completes MEDITECH EHR implementation

Finally, Island Hospital in Washington State recently completed a MEDITECH EHR implementation as part of an effort to unify its hospitals and physician clinics.

The healthcare organization implemented MEDITECH Expanse to offer providers a web-based platform that facilitates efficient, comprehensive patient EHR access.

"The new MEDITECH 6.16 EMR is a major investment for Island Hospital that we took on very seriously,” said Island Hospital CEO Vince Oliver. “We devoted literally thousands of hours to choose, develop and implement our new EMR and our selection of Engage proved to be a great decision.”

“We not only have an outstanding medical-record system but, more importantly, employees who are confidently utilizing this state-of-the-art technology to improve our quality-of-care and the experience for our patients,” he continued.

Island Hospital received assistance from MEDITECH implementation consulting firm Engage throughout the system launch.

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