EMR Mergers: Benefits Part 1
In reference to the research findings, the benefits realized through the merger of Wake Forest Baptist Health and Novant Health's Epic EMR systems include enhanced patient information access and streamlined care coordination while the benefits of the merger of UC Irvine Health and UC San Diego Health's Epic EMR systems include increased value proposition for the two hospitals and cost saving in the implementation. A detailed overview of research findings follows below.
WAKE FOREST BAPTIST HEALTH AND NOVANT HEALTH
Enhanced Patient Information Access
- The merger of Wake Forest Baptist Health and Novant Health's Epic EMR systems resulted in the consolidation of patient data that was previously maintained in two separate Epic MyChart accounts for patients who visited the two healthcare institutions.
- After the merger, "approximately 6,700 Novant Health patients had connected their Novant and Wake Forest MyChart accounts" by January 2018. All this was because the patients wanted to enjoy the benefit of enhanced information access regardless of hospital visited.
- With patients able to access their records in either hospital's system via a single account, the patients were able to have an enhanced experience in regard to information access and care.
- This resulted in the improved understanding of medication, lab results, plan of care, and follow up appointments for patients and their physicians.
- Consequently, the merger of Wake Forest and Novant Health's EMR systems resulted in enhanced patient information access that reduced confusion and improved patient experience in both healthcare facilities.
Streamlined Care Coordination
- With the merger of Wake Forest and Novant Health's Epic EMR systems came the access of patient records in a single Epic MyChart account.
- The merger made it possible for streamlined care coordination as patients moved from Wake Forest to Novant Health and vice versa.
- Additionally, through streamlined care coordination, a patient's journey became more improved because of better managed plans of care and follow up appointments that are all detailed in a single MyChart account.
- As Novant Health CMIO Keith Griffin, MD noted, the merger was "truly a major step forward towards the goal of patient engagement and elimination of barriers of information and confusion."
- By improving patient engagement and eliminating information barriers, the merger introduced streamlined care coordination to the two hospitals making it easier for physicians from both hospitals to care for patients through a single MyChart portal.
UC IRVINE HEALTH AND UC SAN DIEGO HEALTH
- A major benefit for the merger between UC Irvine Health and UC San Diego Health is in cost saving.
- According to Chuck Podesta, the Chief Information Officer of UCI Health, "by collaborating with UC San Diego, and leveraging its existing infrastructure, UCI Health was able to avoid many of the start-up costs associated with implementing a new EMR application."
- The shared Epic EMR system that resulted from the merger of the two hospitals' systems resulted in an estimated 30% in cost avoidance for implementation.
- Chuck Podesta estimated that by choosing the merger route, UC Irvine saved an estimated $40 million in costs.
- By sharing the same Epic platform, the two organizations were able to increase operational efficiencies and cut costs resulting in improved care coordination to UC physicians from both UC Irvine Health and UC San Diego Health.
- According to Carl Dvorak, Epic president, the EMR merger enabled UC Irvine Health and UC San Diego Health to work together and lead the way in the reduction of cost of care, improvement of outcomes and creation of a patient-focused experience.
Increased Value Proposition
- After merging their EMR systems, UC Irvine Health and UC San Diego Health were able to benefit from an increased value proposition.
- The value proposition of the two healthcare facilities increased because the population served by both hospitals doubled from the previous figure.
- Additionally, with an integrated Epic EMR system, patients also benefited from better management of medical information and the alignment of "clinical pathways and practices that leverage the best of both organizations, as well as better support for joint research efforts."
- This EMR merger advanced UC Health’s strategic goal of "sharing health services and generating efficiencies across campuses through the shared implementation and maintenance of technology platforms."
- Lastly, the above-mentioned and all other advantages of the EMR merger between UC Irvine Health and UC San Diego Health on both the patient and physician side all resulted in an increased value proposition to all stakeholders.