Michigan behavioral health system invests in Epic EHR to coordinate with nearby hospitals

Jessica Kim Cohen -

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services plans to become the first independent, free-standing behavioral health system in the U.S. to partner with Epic.

The health system's board of directors approved a multimillion dollar capital investment to purchase and implement the Epic EHR Oct 3. Pine Rest will finance the EHR through a combination of longer term debt, board designated funds and capital improvement dollars.

The EHR, to be deployed across the health system, will impact almost 50,000 Pine Rest patients. Pine Rest officials hope the Epic EHR will support care coordination with nearby partner hospitals in Michigan like Grand Rapids-based Metro Health, Lansing-based Sparrow Health System and St. Joseph-based Lakeland Health, which also use Epic EHRs.

Epic's "Care Everywhere" interoperability service, which enables providers to exchange medical records between Epic and non-Epic EHR systems, also played a key role in Pine Rest's decision to tap the EHR vendor, according to health system officials.

"Leveraging Epic's data sharing technology, Pine Rest will have unprecedented opportunities to coordinate care with other providers in the community and across the country," said Mark Eastburg, PhD, president and CEO of Pine Rest.

Pine Rest officials said they plan to fully implement the Epic EHR by June 2018.

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