Advocate Health Care switches to Epic EHR
In December 2017, Chicago's Advocate Health Care announced that it would merge with Aurora Health Care of Milwaukee, Wisconsin – an $11 billion meeting of giants that would create the 10th-biggest not-for-profit health system in the U.S.
Aurora runs on an electronic health record platform developed by its home state's own Epic Systems. It was announced Feb. 1 that now Advocate will too.
The health system didn't put a price tag on the rollout, but Advocate officials said they expect the project to take about three years. The new EHR and revenue cycle management system will require training for more than 17,000 physicians, nurses and associates.
Advocate is a longtime health IT leader, with deep experience in complex clinical integration and population health management.
In 2014, it had announced plans to merge with NorthShore University, another Epic client. The deal was dropped in 2017 amid antitrust concerns, but it could have required a decision on how to integrate its own disparate systems – Cerner for hospitals, eClinicalWorks for the patient portal, and Allscripts for its Advocate Medical Group.
Now, with the planned Aurora merger, officials say the new single-platform Epic system will allow it to continue to hone its care coordination activities and focus on improved patient outcomes.
Specifically, execs also pointed to Epic's consumer capabilities and ease-of-use for clinicians as big reasons for the switch.
The health system has been pursuing an array of consumer-facing innovations recently, such as expanded online scheduling, digital check-ins, chatbots, mobile patient portal access, online health risk assessments and more.
“Advocate has been laser-focused on our transformational efforts around safety, outcomes and consumer experience, and our decision to move to a single platform is yet another demonstration of our commitment to accelerate results and reimagine health care delivery for those we serve,” said Advocate CEO Jim Skogsbergh in a statement.
Advocate's Chief Information Officer Bobbie Byrne, meanwhile, said the switch to Epic will enable better care coordination across the health system and beyond, allowing for "better interoperability throughout our entire geographic region, benefiting patients through a seamless, integrated approach.
"We are confident this single-platform EHR will be a nimble, long-term solution that can be continually adapted and developed as technology advances to keep us on the leading edge," she said.