It was nearly six years ago when SSM hospitals and physician practices began working with the Epic electronic health record (EHR). At the time, the road to the last hospital on the rollout schedule seemed to vanish over the horizon. Today, the end is not just near –it's here! Shortly after midnight on Sept. 28, St. Mary's Health Center wrapped up the original rollout schedule with the launch of Epic in Missouri's capital.
St. Mary's network of medical clinics began using Epic last year, so the introduction of the EHR at the hospital means the physician offices and the hospital will now share a single electronic record. The hospital becomes the 16th in SSM's expanding system to replace their paper medical records with the EHR.
"In talking with Lilley (Woolfolk, Clinical Transformation Manager), I find out this is her 18th go-live," noted Brent VanConia, President, St. Mary's Health Center. "You all really know what to expect and that's what gives me confidence that we'll be fine a week from now - a month from now."
Following much the same model as SSM St. Joseph Hospital- Kirkwood and SSM St. Clare Health Center, the hospital will introduce the Epic system in its current location and move the system, along with all other operations, to the new St. Mary's Health Center scheduled to open in January 2015.
"So a little over a year from now we will be moving to a new hospital and while this all may seem a little scary now, by then I think everyone will have one security blanket they will take with them to the new hospital - that'll be Epic," said Tony Houston, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, St. Mary's Health Center.
With the launch, St. Mary's Health Center joins 14 other SSM hospitals among the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide in adoption of the EHR. Individually, SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis and St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, Wis. have been recognized among the top 1.9 percent of hospitals nationwide in reaching the highest level of electronic health record implementation.
"Although this is the last go-live in the original schedule, the work of the project team is by no means complete," noted Jon Kimerle, Vice President -Clinical Transformation. "There will be other go-lives, upgrades, special updates, and ICD-10 compliance projects to name a few."
"The most significant work will be around continuing to improve the system and use it to take better care of the populations we serve."