- Mayo Clinic recently started work on launching a $1.5-billion project to integrate all of its patient health records into a single Epic EHR.
The healthcare organization contracted Epic Systems to provide a single system to house more than 200,000 patient health records for sites in Wisconsin cities including La Crosse, Onalaska, Prairie du Chien, and Sparta.
"For Mayo Clinic, this is absolutely a huge milestone,” Regional Vice President for Mayo Clinic Health System Timothy Johnson, MD, told The Post-Bulletin. “This is the first implementation of us all being on a single electronic record system. While it is the historical record, it is also the workhorse. All of our workflows center around the movement of information, whether it's a prescription or ordering a lab or getting a result back to the right person.”
Mayo Clinic’s Wisconsin sites will function as a trial run for the initiative under the designation Plummer Project, in honor of Mayo Clinic’s own Henry Plummer, MD. Plummer is credited with creating a central medical record system over a century ago.
"Epic refers to the single electronic health record, and that is the centerpiece," said Johnson. "But the Plummer Project involves much more. It is a whole technology information system upgrade. That includes the revenue cycle, network upgrades, security upgrades."
In November, Mayo Clinic plans to continue work on the project by transitioning EHRs from its locations in Minnesota to the single system. The health system’s sites in Rochester are scheduled to make the shift in May of 2018, with sites in Arizona and Florida to follow in October of the same year for the project’s completion.
Once Mayo Clinic has completed its Epic implementation across the health system, all data about a patient’s medications, allergies, and health conditions will be accessible to all Mayo Clinic staff. Billing will also be completed using the system. Patients will receive one statement regarding all care received at any Mayo Clinic site.
"This project builds on the health-care innovations and teamwork that have enabled Mayo Clinic to improve and save lives unlike anywhere else," said Mayo Clinic CIO Christopher Ross. "By applying the world's most forward-thinking technology and processes to our electronic health records and collaborative care systems, our experts will be even more connected in delivering the high-value care, research and education that Mayo is known for and patients deserve."
Approximately 1,000 non-Mayo staff members assisted in the setup at Mayo Clinic’s Wisconsin sites. The setup process included training 8,400 Mayo employees on how to navigate the Epic EHR system.
Mayo Clinic has also established a training and command center at a Rochester location scheduled for use as a headquarters for all things related to the EHR transition over the next year and a half.
A total of 51,000 employees across the country are expected to receive training on the system by the time the Epic implementation is complete.
Mayo Clinic set the groundwork for the project in 2015, signing a contract with Epic to consolidate its medical records system that were stored under both Cerner and General Electric.
"The total cost of Mayo Clinic technology investments is estimated at $1.5 billion over multiple years,” said Ross. “Only a portion of this goes toward the electronic health record and revenue cycle replacement. The majority of this expense is for Mayo staff involved in complex design decisions and configuring the Epic software to meet Mayo's specific needs.”