Why Mercy is upgrading SoutheastHealth to Epic

St. Louis-based Mercy is moving its newly acquired Cape Girardeau, Mo.-based SoutheastHealth to an Epic EHR system so that all of its providers and patients can ensure continuity of care. 

Mercy officially acquired SoutheastHealth, which includes two hospitals, a behavioral health hospital and 48 clinics, on Jan. 3. As part of the agreement, SoutheastHealth will implement Epic. 

Eric Ammons, Mercy regional president for Southeast Missouri, told Becker's that the move was made due to Mercy already using a single instance of Epic for its entire healthcare system. 

"It [Epic] powers our MyMercy patient portal and MyMercy app giving patients the convenience of online appointment scheduling, access to their records, contact with their physicians, online bill payment and more — all features that improve access to care that patients expect and deserve," he said. "And it's a key part of our AI work that powers our proactive, predictive approach to care which allows us to catch potential health issues earlier and keep patients healthier. All of this comes together to help us reach the key goal of serving southeast Missouri."

Converting a system the size of SoutheastHealth to a new EHR takes time to ensure it works properly at launch, but Mercy understands the importance of getting it in place as soon as possible, Mr. Ammons said. That is why the health system is planning to have the Epic EHR system fully in place at SoutheastHealth later this year.

"The team at SoutheastHealth are as equally dedicated as their Mercy counterparts and ready to do what it takes to best serve their community," he said. "We've found one key to a smooth transition is ensuring leaders at Mercy Southeast have a counterpart within Mercy who they can rely on at any time to work one-on-one, spending the time to make sure everything is understood. We know we need to take this same approach as we build out Epic at Mercy Southeast, train every co-worker with Epic access, implement the new EHR and educate our patients on how they can not only use our EHR but maximize it to maintain their good health."

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