On June 20, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services became the first free-standing behavioral health system worldwide to implement the Epic electronic health record (EHR). This historic partnership pairs one of the largest behavioral health care providers in the United States with the industry leader in electronic health record technology.
With the Epic EHR in place, Pine Rest is establishing a new standard for patient care in a behavioral health setting. Features of the Epic platform allow the organization unprecedented coordination of care both within its continuum of services as well as in partnership with other health care providers in the area.
“Behavioral health is an essential component of any integrated and collaborative community of care,” said Mark Eastburg, Ph.D., Pine Rest president and CEO. “Pine Rest has a vision to partner with local and national health care systems to provide a network of support and care coordination that exceeds anything previously experienced. The tools Epic provides are a step toward achieving that goal.”
With features such as Care Everywhere, Pine Rest has the ability to receive key health information from other health care systems in real-time during an admission, screening, or visit. This information sharing provides a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s needs and ultimately leads to superior clinical outcomes.
“The community’s health and well-being improves when providers can easily communicate and coordinate care,” said Eastburg. “Because other major health care systems in West Michigan are either on or moving toward Epic as their ‘common language,’ I’m convinced that our entire community will benefit.”
Pine Rest went live with Epic on its target date and with minimal impact to patient access.
“A key consideration when planning our Epic go-live was remaining accessible to those in need of care,” said Eastburg. “Many come to us in a time of crisis, and we are extremely pleased to have successfully achieved the goal of meeting those needs with open doors.”
Provider efficiency has already been improved by the transition to the new EHR. Tools such as Epic’s Smart Templates and NoteWriter functionality greatly impact the ability of providers to document care as it occurs, allowing them to manage their workflow more effectively.
“I’ve heard many success stories from across the organization,” said Dr. Louis Nykamp, Pine Rest chief medical information officer. “Our physicians and clinicians are in full support of the change to Epic and are excited about the possibilities it provides. Even little things, such as a physician taking a non-working lunch for the first time, go a long way toward improving the daily experience for our care teams and ultimately the experience of those we serve.”
Pine Rest shares patients with many of the regional hospitals who currently use Epic such as Metro Health – University of Michigan Health, Spectrum Health, Bronson, Sparrow Health and Lakeland Health. Epic is the preferred electronic health record utilized by many of the top 100 healthcare systems nationwide. Epic is headquartered in Verona, Wisconsin.