Tahoe Forest Health System (TFHS), which serves two rural counties across 3,500 square miles in California and Nevada, has signed an agreement to partner with Mercy Technology Services (MTS), the IT pillar of Mercy, one of the nation’s largest Catholic health systems.
MTS will extend its Epic electronic health record (EHR) for TFHS, a district hospital located in Truckee/North Lake Tahoe, CA. TFHS’s primary facility, Tahoe Forest Hospital, was recently named ‘One of the 50 Critical Access Hospitals to Know’ by Becker’s Hospital Review thanks to a progressive approach to health care.
“Our goal was to find a partner with the same innovative mindset – partnering with us to blaze new paths to bring health and wellness to communities,” said Harry Weis, Tahoe Forest Health System’s chief executive officer.
“We’re surrounded by mountains and world class recreation and ski areas, which means we see a lot of tourists during certain seasons and on the weekends. We need the ability to flex and be nimble in our services,” said Jake Dorst, Tahoe’s chief information and innovation officer (CIO) and one of Becker’s 100 Hospital and Health Systems CIOs to Know. “What I really like about Mercy is, even though it’s a large organization, it shares our entrepreneurial spirit and it’s agile – always pushing technology forward in its quest to best serve patients.”
Not only was Mercy an early adopter, but broad use and a comprehensive build-out of its EHR helped it become the nation’s first provider to be accredited by Epic to extend services. Mercy’s use of EHR-enabled technology to improve patient care while cutting costs has also earned this year’s HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award of Excellence.
Tahoe Forest Health System recently earned its own innovation award for its new computer-based wellness program called Blue Life. With this unique program, TFHS can classify patients based on their health risks, then engage with and coach high-risk patients to better health.
“Moving from seven different EHR’s to a single, unified patient record is a high priority for TFHS,” Dorst said. "This will help us build on our population health and community outreach initiatives, and coordinate better care between systems and specialties. We need a system like Epic and a partner like Mercy to help us make it right – really get it going from the ground up.”
Mercy echoes Tahoe’s stance on technology as a patient care game-changer, and sees extending services as a way to share best practices among providers while benefiting a broader patient community.
“We are honored to partner with a like-minded innovator such as Tahoe Forest, and stretch our mission to help improve the health of patients in these mountain counties,” said Gil Hoffman, Mercy chief information officer. “With Mercy, Tahoe will have a mission-centered partner to grow with into the future with near-term strategic value from EHR services, and the option for mid- and longer-term solutions like big data analytics and virtual care to reach patients in hard-to-reach places.”
Dorst added, “We chose Mercy because of its experience. Mercy was one of the few solutions we evaluated that has an in-house team that has done this so long that all the pieces gel. They know how to be successful, and they won’t leave town the day after go-live.”
Tahoe Forest Health System, with locations in Truckee, CA, and Incline Village, NV, offers 24-hour emergency care, a total joint orthopedic program including direct anterior hip replacement surgery, physician multi-specialty clinics, Women’s Choice Award-winning OB department, and CoC-accredited cancer center. With a strong focus on high quality patient care, community collaboration, clinical excellence and innovation, Tahoe Forest Health System is a UC Davis Rural Center of Excellence. For a complete list of physician specialties and services, visit www.tfhd.com.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2016 by Truven, an IBM company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 43 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
MTS provides and manages technology solutions for Mercy, the nation’s first health care provider accredited by Epic, to offer a full suite of electronic health record solutions to other hospitals, including Epic in the cloud, implementation and optimization. MTS’ award-winning data analytics integrate care delivery, manage costs and support a model of care that keeps patients healthier and out of the hospital. Visit mercytechnology.net.