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Impacts of Key Cerner EHR Implementations for 2018

The first six months of 2018 have included the launch of several Cerner EHR implementations, with the goals of improving care coordination and other admin functions.

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Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth Snell

- Healthcare continues to evolve, with providers of all sizes and with varying specialties working to implement the latest technologies while still ensuring patient care remains a top priority. Many organizations are considering new EHR implementations, hoping to find the right system that will improve daily operations, reduce cost, and build a strong foundation for the future.

Several Cerner EHR implementations have taken place so far in 2018, with more likely still come over the next several months. While these are not a complete review of all of the launches this year thus far, it should help show how some providers and organizations are working to improve their EHR optimization processes.

Federal agencies opting for Cerner

Some of the larger headlines with Cerner EHR implementations this year came with the VA and Coast Guard opting for a change.

VA signed a $10 billion Cerner EHR implementation contract in May 2018, following months of negotiation. The implementation was also meant to mimic Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) MHS GENESIS EHR system, which was also supported by a Cerner platform.

The new system will enable a more seamless health data exchange process, explained Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.

READ MORE: 3 Key Tips for Ensuring a Smooth EHR Replacement Process

“When fully deployed, the new system will represent a monumental advance in Veterans’ health care — bigger than VA’s initial deployment of electronic health records 40 years ago,” said Wilkie. “We appreciate the DoD’s willingness to share its experiences implementing its electronic health record.”

The Coast Guard announced in April 2018 that it would join DoD’s existing $4.3 billion contract with Leidos and Cerner EHR and adopt the MHS GENESIS EHR.

Defense Healthcare Management Systems Program Executive Officer Stacy Cummings told FCW that the Coast Guard would be able to benefit from the resources and expertise of DoD’s initial operating capability (IOC) in the Pacific Northwest. This would help ensure the rollout would not take as long as DoD’s own two-year deployment process.

"Coast Guard has already started looking at their infrastructure to make sure they're meeting the minimum needs" to support the MHS GENESIS system, Cummings said.

Indiana Family and Social Services Administration

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced in May 2018 that it would implement Cerner EHR and revenue cycle management solutions at six FSSA inpatient psychiatric facilities.

READ MORE: Crisp Regional Health to Launch Cerner EHR Implementation

“As we evolve as an integrated hospital system, our mission is to compassionately and efficiently treat Indiana citizens with challenging neuropsychiatric illnesses,” said Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction Director Kevin Moore.

“Deploying Cerner’s integrated health care solution will help us connect and optimize Indiana’s network of state psychiatric hospitals, along with interfaces to other providers along Indiana’s mental health continuum.”

The Cerner patient portal would also benefit both patients and clinicians, enabling efficient health data exchange between providers and facilities.

Additionally, Cerner’s system would support FSSA’s NeuroDiagnostic Institute. Staff members can deliver expert neuro-diagnostic evaluations and treatments for patients upon arrival, Cerner stated. The Institute will connect to other FSSA facilities through the Cerner EHR as part of FSSA’s initiative to modernize its state-run mental health facilities.

“With the right tools and solutions, FSSA will be more prepared to meet the unique needs of their facilities in the constantly changing health care landscape and provide high-quality services and support to their patients and communities,” Cerner President Zane Burke said in a statement.

Rankin County Hospital District

READ MORE: MI Critical Access Hospital to Begin Cerner EHR Implementation

Texas-based Rankin County Hospital District opted for a Cerner EHR implementation to streamline clinical and administrative operations.

The critical access hospital said there was “an incredibly smooth go-live” when it implemented the Cerner EHR through the health IT company’s CommunityWorks deployment model.

“One place we noticed an immediate impact was in our daily revenue cycle meetings,” RCHD CEO Jim Horton said in a statement. “We are now able to reconcile the previous day’s revenue very accurately and our meetings are getting shorter and shorter, freeing us up to handle other parts of our operations.”

Providers within RCHD’s emergency services department, family practice medical clinic, outpatient lab, acute care department, and other departments will all benefit from the new system. Staff members can have easier access to patient health data, medication histories, and financial information.

“With an integrated EHR now in use by RCHD clinicians, they will be able to promote the health and wellness of the Rankin community in new and exciting ways,” Cerner Senior Vice President and CommunityWorks President Mitchell Clark explained. “RCHD has seen some great early successes since their implementation and we cannot wait to see how they will use the unified system to improve the health of the people they serve.”

Pickens County Medical Center

Pickens County Medical Center (PCMC) went through a six-month EHR selection process before finally settling on Cerner EHR in February.

The Alabama-based hospital said it would utilize Cerner CommunityWorks cloud-based deployment model during implementation, which is designed to customize Cerner Millenium to fit community healthcare settings’ specific needs. PCMC will also be the first community hospital in Alabama to utilize the CommunityWorks. 

“Cerner was a unanimous choice of the selection committee after a six-month review of five companies,” PCMC CEO Richard McBryde stated. “Cerner’s solution for our hospital met all of our needs at 100 percent; ease of use, regulatory support and training before and after go-live, at an affordable cost.”

The 56-bed community hospital has a primary care clinic and an emergency department with six exam rooms and two trauma suites. Providers will be able to streamline care coordination, as complete patient medical histories, clinical and financial data will be easily available.

Furthermore, the patient portal allows patients to securely message physicians, schedule appointments, access billing information, and view their health histories.

“After touring Cerner’s world-class data center and evaluating the robust technologies and networks supporting the CommunityWorks platform, the choice was obvious,” PCMC Director of Information Systems Marcus Hudgins explained.

Perry County Memorial Hospital

Missouri-based Perry County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) announced in January that it opted for a Cerner EHR implementation.

Having an integrated Cerner Millenium EHR will help all PCMH acute and ambulatory care sites, increasing access to comprehensive patient medical histories and allowing providers to more easily share patient health data.

Patients will soon have access to their own health records, be able to schedule appointments, and securely message physicians with the new Cerner patient portal.

"At PCMH, we live by our motto, ‘People care more here,’” PCMH Vice President of Operations Chris Wibbenmeyer said in a statement. “We have seen that Cerner shares in this sentiment, caring for and understanding the health care needs of our community.”

The one hospital and 20 specialty clinic network also plans to utilize the Cerner CommunityWorks cloud-based deployment model, as it can be customized for the different needs of community hospitals and healthcare organizations. 

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