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Mercy SaaS Service Drives Accelerated Epic EHR Implementation

The SaaS provider helped Our Lady of the Angels Hospital implement an Epic EHR in under a year, although the process usually takes between 12 and 18 months.

By Sara Heath

With help from Mercy Technology Services, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital has fully completed an Epic EHR implementation in less than a year, a process that usually takes 12 to 18 months, according to a press release.

The 98-bed hospital, a part of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, received help from Mercy Technology Services through a software as a service (SaaS) partnership. Mercy is the nation’s first Epic-accredited health system.

According to the press release, a failing local server and antiquated health records system prompted the accelerated Epic Systems go-live at Our Lady of the Angels Hospital. The hospital needed to transition from paper to electronic health records as soon as possible, pushing them to implement their new EHR by June, 2016.

This push required strong team work between Our Lady of the Angels and Mercy Technology Services.

“I believe the over-riding factor to our successful implementation was the synergy that came as a result of our two teams’ shared cultures and missions,” said Rene Ragas, President and Chief Executive Officer of Our Lady of the Angels. “It felt like a family atmosphere rather than a vendor relationship.”

For Ralph Serpas, Chief Nursing Officer at Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, this working relationship felt smoother than others he’d experienced before.

“My experience with other vendor implementations was a flip of the switch and then problems surfaced. Mercy’s approach felt more organized, prepared and systematic,” said Serpas.

“The clinical experience of Mercy’s team made for easy and clear communication with all of our departments, so there were no misunderstandings of what was necessary to accomplish the task at hand. Mercy’s project lead, Diana Rosewicz, established an environment that made us feel as if we were working with a sister hospital. Everyone felt at ease.”

Mercy executives say their work helps deliver better, technology-driven healthcare to more hospitals. By aiding in Epic EHR implementations and transitions, the SaaS provider can ensure more patients receive reportedly higher quality care.

“It’s responding to a need and partnering when it brings greater good to our health care community,” said Gil Hoffman, Mercy’s Chief Information Officer. “Where Mercy extends proven technology services to other hospitals, more patients have access to quality care.”

According to Ragas, Our Lady of the Angels is already seeing positive changes just a few months into their Epic implementation.

“There’s additional value in having Mercy’s evidenced-based treatment paths wired into our EHR, along with all their best practices,” said Ragas. “We’re already seeing results from our data on how we can enhance patient safety and improve our outcomes.”

Mercy has been offering SaaS since 2014, a move which made them the first health network to be accredited by the Epic Connect program. According to Mercy, this accreditation had been built around years of working with Epic and developing a deep understanding for the technology and the potential benefits it may hold.

“What’s unique about Mercy’s system is the years we have spent optimizing it for performance in the real world,” Hoffman said in a 2014 press release. “Mercy Technology Services put in 600 optimizations last year alone.”

Since then, Mercy Technology Services has lent its hand in many Epic implementations. Earlier this year, the SaaS provider announced three new partnerships at Riverview Health in Noblesville, Indiana, Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, Maryland, and McLeod Health in Florence, South Carolina.

For these hospitals, their choice to partner with Mercy Technology Services centered on the group’s proven track record with Epic Systems.

“We enlisted Mercy’s support of our Epic EHR initiative to fill in the gaps where we lacked specific expertise,” said Ray Adkins, CIO at Peninsula Regional. “Mercy’s team has shown a high degree of flexibility, and their real-world experience with Epic has helped our team avoid “scope creep” and stay focused on the task at hand.”

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