Mercy Health System Launches System-Wide Electronic Health Records
Monumental technology effort enhances patient safety and efficiently delivers person-centered care
Conshohocken, PA (May 1, 2012): Today, Mercy Health System (MHS) flipped the final switch on its system-wide electronic health record (EHR) system, encompassing its four hospitals: Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, Mercy Philadelphia Hospital in West Philadelphia, Mercy Suburban Hospital in East Norriton and Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia; 44 physician practices, Mercy Home Health and Mercy LIFE Centers. Focusing on the total health of the patient, this multi-million dollar strategic initiative known as “CareLink” enables MHS to deliver person-centered care across the entire continuum of care.
“The CareLink initiative is the single largest and complex technology project in MHS history that has been more than two years in the making,” said David D. Clark, FACHE, president and chief executive officer. “With Electronic Health Records, our healthcare delivery model is forever transformed and it furthers our Vision where compassionate care, community access and quality health services intersect.”
Mercy Fitzgerald, Mercy Philadelphia and Mercy Suburban Hospitals went live on EHR simultaneously on May 1. Last year, 44 of Mercy Health System physician practices completed the conversion, along with Nazareth Hospital this past December. In 2010, Mercy Home Health and Mercy LIFE’s three centers incorporated the electronic health record.
The system is designed to improve patient care, reduce costs and medication errors and increase efficiency. For patients, the EHR system will track their health information across multiple access points with the hospitals (Emergency Department, Radiology and Pharmacy, for example). It allows MHS physicians and providers to bring together in one place a patient’s medical chart and history including: allergies, medications and immunization history, laboratory and medical imaging results, and any advanced directives and health powers of attorney information.
“Patients’ health records, clinical standards and the best evidence-based practices are now at the fingertips of MHS providers across the entire system,” said Christine Brutschea, chief information officer. “Providing secure and ready access to shared healthcare data across Mercy Health System is imperative to delivering the highest quality care.”
Using a dedicated in-house team of more than 300 employees, Mercy also standardized all four hospitals on one hospital information system and physician credentialing system. To date, the CareLink initiative has resulted in nearly 6,000 employees trained. The project has added 1300 new computers, tablets and devices throughout the system.
A web-based patient portal called MyHealth@Mercy is currently being piloted in three physician practices and will be available system-wide by the end of the year. The portal will allow patients to access medical records, send messages securely to providers and submit prescription refill requests.
The federal government has mandated the change to electronic health records. Health care providers must meet the government’s definition of “meaningful use” of technology by 2015 to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentives.