This fall Meritus Health, a health care system based in western Maryland, launched its new Epic electronic health record, which was implemented and hosted through a partnership with Mercy Technology Services (MTS), the IT backbone of St. Louis’s Mercy health system.
“Adopting a new EHR can be a costly, time-consuming process for any health care system,” said Tom Chan, chief financial officer for Meritus Health, which manages Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, Maryland. “Thanks to our partnership with MTS, Meritus was able to quickly implement one of the most sophisticated versions of Epic in use today, reducing the time to install from 18 months to just over a year and helping us experience significant savings along the way.”
MTS has spent over 10 years engineering Mercy’s version of the Epic EHR system to better suit the needs of providers and patients. So when MTS began offering Epic implementation, hosting and support on a commercial basis, it was able to provide client organizations a uniquely advanced version of the EHR system that has earned industry awards as well as special distinction from Epic itself.
While MTS’ commercial clients can choose to license the EHR software from MTS under Epic’s Community Connect model, Meritus chose to license the system directly from Epic, but opted to take a copy of MTS’ highly configured version of Epic, while also working with MTS for implementation and hosting. As a result, Meritus gains the benefit of MTS’ advanced Epic software with its elevated Gold Stars rating while maintaining the flexibility and freedom to customize the system further to meet their own needs.
“As we started this journey with MTS, we knew we wanted to maintain a degree of autonomy,” said Meritus Health’s chief transformation officer Carrie Adams. “This process helped us retain the ability to make decisions about the direction of our EHR so we can build and grow a system that meets the needs of our clinicians as well as our patients.”
“Meritus is really a model for how a smaller health system can best implement a new EHR on their own terms,” said Gil Hoffman, MTS’ chief information officer. “By taking advantage of MTS’ experience, a decade of Epic design and award-winning build, they’ve been able to catapult their capabilities, while managing their risk and controlling their costs.”
Packed with functionality, MTS’ model of Epic includes a wide array of Epic specialty modules, mobility features and integrated tools for clinical decision support and population health. As a result, it has earned distinguished Gold Star rankings from Epic, with special recognition for physician productivity, usability and patient accessibility. Plus, MTS recently received magna cum laude distinction as part of Epic’s Honor Roll program for adopting industry best practices and maintaining EHR-optimized system infrastructure.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2018, 2017 and 2016 by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy includes more than 40 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 800 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 44,000 co-workers and 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy's IT division, Mercy Technology Services, supply chain organization, ROi, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients in more than 20 states coast to coast.
About Mercy Technology Services
Mercy Technology Services (MTS), named one of Healthcare IT News’ Best Hospital IT departments and a Davies Award recipient, knows firsthand the unique needs of health care. That’s because, as the IT backbone of Mercy, a 40-plus hospital health system, we deliver mission-critical technology services daily. An early adopter of Epic’s EHR, Mercy became the nation’s first provider accredited by Epic to offer EHR solutions to other hospitals, including Epic in the cloud, implementation and optimization. With MTS’s full suite of health care offerings including cloud, managed services, PACS as a service and cloud backup and recovery, hospitals can reduce IT costs and risks. MTS’s award-winning data analytics help reduce variation and support a model of care that keeps patients healthier.
Meritus Health, Western Maryland’s largest health care provider, is located at the crossroads of western Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. The health system has committed to caring for the community for more than a century. Meritus Health’s flagship facility, Meritus Medical Center, opened six years ago in Washington County, Maryland, to provide hospital and health care services. Meritus Medical Center was built as a direct link to Robinwood Professional Center, creating a campus where health care providers, outpatients, visitors and families can move easily from one service area to another. With the addition of the hospital, the 1 million square foot combined campus represents the largest health services footprint in the state of Maryland. The 20 primary and specialty care practices that make up Meritus Medical Group provide nearly 250,000 outpatient care visits annually (FY18). The health system has earned numerous recognitions including the Commission on Cancer Accredited Programs, the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, the American Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Performance Award and U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 High Performing Hospital in heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to name just a few. Meritus Medical Center is a Joint Commission-accredited hospital.