When it comes to advancements in technology regarding healthcare, it can be tricky to predict those that can happen quickly while others can take years before reaching implementation. Such is the case with the Mayo Clinic, as it was recently announced that they have finally completed their epic electronic health record initiative. Also known as the Plummer Project, they have been working on this for over three years, generated a cost that exceeded $1.5 billion and spans ninety clinics and hospitals.
The Importance of the Plummer Project
According to writer Mike Miliard from Healthcare IT News, the Epic electronic health record implementation started with the throw of the proverbial flip of the switch at three locations in Arizona and Florida; this marks the completion of the Mayo Clinic’s project that links every Mayo site to an integrated revenue and EHR cycle management system. The project is in honor of Henry Plummer, MD, who is known for developing at Mayo a patient-centered health record in 1907, and is the most expensive, complex and one of the largest Epic implementations ever made.
The initiative, according to Mayo Clinic CIO Cris Ross, was originally announced back in early 2015 with the focus of replacing the health system’s existing GE and Cerner systems; this had been under consideration for some time. During this time, Ross talked with Healthcare IT News that we really believe that an integrated EHR, across all of our organizations, can help us with that core mission of meeting patients’ needs.
Ross also predicted then that the roll-out would take about four years to complete. The roll-out is happening ahead of schedule, based on the first two-dozen sites had become live back in July of 2017.
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Along the way, several milestones were accomplished, which included in November of 2017 the go-lives at the Mayo Clinic Health System and this past May the Mayo Clinic located in Rochester. The completion of the project needed the expertise of roughly five-hundred IT staff. Today, roughly fifty-two-thousand employees at Mayo are utilizing Epic throughout ninety clinics and hospitals in Arizona, Minnesota and Florida.
Earlier this year, Ross spoke during another interview, where he said that the project is highly complex due to the number of specialties and sub-specialties involved. We are not only focused on building and delivering a converged technical solution. We are also invested in the people side of change to support them in adopting, utilizing, and becoming proficient in the Epic system. This is being accomplished through a comprehensive change management strategy.
More Larger Health Systems are Following Mayo’s Trend
Despite the expense and complexity of the project, the Mayo Clinic stated that this was a worthwhile investment to establish a single system that is unified as it connects providers and patients across the health system; it enables access that is easier to billing and clinical information regardless of its’ location. Meanwhile, large U.S. health systems like Mayo are more and more are heading to either utilizing Cerner or Epic; this same trend is occurring overseas. This year, other major Epic deals include Trinity Health in Michigan and Advocate Health Care based in Chicago.
Steve Peters, MD and the co-chair of the Plummer Project, said in a statement that having one integrated system builds on our core mission of putting the needs of patients first. This will enable us to enhance services, accelerate innovation and provide better care. Co-chair Richard Gray, MD, added that the commitment and expertise of outstanding Mayo staff, Epic colleagues and implementation partners brought us to this day. We envision even greater collaboration among experts in delivering the patient care, research and education that are hallmarks of Mayo.
Date: October 22, 2018