Electronic Health Records

Adoption & Implementation News

Centra Health Launches Cerner EHR After 2 Years of Preparation

Virginia-based Centra Health went live with a single, integrated Cerner EHR system across more than 80 facilities to start September.

Centra Health launched a multi-million-dollar Cerner EHR implementation.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Centra Health recently went live with a multi-million-dollar Cerner EHR implementation as part of a two-year effort to replace several, disparate EHR systems previously in use across the health system with a single, integrated system.

The health system went live with Cerner September 1 across more than 80 in-network healthcare facilities. 

Centra unified more than 300,000 patient health records as part of the switch. According to WDBJ, Centra anticipates patients will experience increased wait times as health system staff adjust to initial changes in daily operations resulting from the EHR implementation launch.

“Health care records have been disjointed enough that patients feel responsible for keeping their own records and being that point of continuity across settings,” Centra Chief Medical Officer Chris Thomson told WDBJ.

“Getting information from patients…it’s not only added stress on the patient, it’s added stress on the health care system,” Thomas continued.

Prior to going live with Cerner, Centra maintained seven separate EHR systems.

All 8,500 health system staff members attended EHR training to learn how to efficiently navigate the system ahead of the EHR implementation launch. About 400 Cerner trainers and representatives were on campus at Centra during go-live to offer support to clinical and non-clinical staff.

Additionally, command centers at all Centra hospital locations will be available to assist with any potential issues in the early days after the go-live.

$100M Epic EHR Implementation Goes Live at Meritus Health

Elsewhere in health IT news, Maryland-based Meritus Health also went live with a new EHR implementation September 1.

The health system first signed the $100 million deal with Epic in July 2017.

The new system will streamline health data access and health data exchange across Meritus Health providers and care facilities for better-informed clinical decision-making.

While the EHR implementation is expected to improve clinical efficiency, patient health outcomes, and health system savings in the long-term, Meritus Health officials expect patient wait times will increase as staff learn the new system.

 “We ask that for the next month, patients are understanding and come prepared for greater than expected wait times,” Meritus President and CEO Joseph P. Ross told LocalDVM.com.

Patients of Meritus Medical Center and Meritus Medical Group practices will also have access to Epic’s patient portal MyChart. The portal offers patients an easy, accessible way to schedule appointments, pay bills, view their own health information, and securely message providers.

The Epic EHR go-live is over 2 years in the making. Meritus selected Epic in 2017 after an 18-month review process involving over 1,000 Meritus staff members. The health system considered six vendors before choosing Epic.

“Our medical staff and employees have dedicated a significant amount of time during the past two years to evaluate options and select the system that best suits the needs of our patients and providers,” said Ross.

Meritus will invest more than $100 million in the system over five years. This cost covers the EHR implementation as well as all labor costs accrued through training and additional staff hires.

 Additional Clinics and Hospitals Sign on to Apple Health Records

Finally, a handful of clinics and hospitals recently signed on to join the growing Apple Health Records beta program in an effort to improve EHR patient access by empowering patients to collect and view their own health information through iOS devices.

Healthcare organizations including Texas-based Austin Regional Clinic, Houston Methodist Hospital, California-based John Muir Health, and University of Virginia Health System, and others now allow patients to view their information through the feature.

These hospitals, health systems, and clinics join the more than 80 participants already utilizing the Health Records EHR data viewer.

The app leverages the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard developed by HL7 to collect patient health data from disparate sources and present the information to patients in a consumer-friendly way.

“It makes it very easy for you to manage your health information,” Apple Clinical and Health Informatics Lead Ricky Bloomfield, MD, told attendees of the ONC 2nd Interoperability Forum. “You as a user have complete control over who has access to the data. If you don’t want to share it, it won’t be shared. It stays private on your device until you decide to share it.”

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