Rush, Ochsner Health System partner on telemedicine, Epic EHR

Telehealth will enable specialist interventions, while the EHR will allow patients to see their healthcare information from both organizations while streamlining care coordination and more.
By Nathan Eddy
11:54 AM
Rush, Ochsner Health System partner on telemedicine, Epic EHR

Rush Health Systems and Ochsner Health System are partnering to bring innovations in telemedicine to patients. The deal also will see Ochsner implement vendor Epic’s electronic health record.

In addition to gaining access to Ochsner’s telemedicine capabilities, Rush’s hospitals and primary care clinics also will be able to tap into Ochsner’s billing practices and other support services.

WHY IT MATTERS

The integration of Epic software will give Rush patients the ability to access their own electronic health records through Epic’s patient portal, MyChart, while simultaneously streamlining patient registration, care coordination and scheduling tasks.

The announcement represents an extension of the current partnership between the two health systems and could lead to further telehealth expansion opportunities at Rush facilities, as well as digital health offerings to help manage chronic diseases.

ON THE RECORD

“Physicians from both organizations will have the opportunity to increase clinical collaboration, implement advanced, patient-centered technology and ultimately expand services in the region,” Fred Duggan, chief medical officer at Rush Health Systems, said in a statement.

THE LARGER TREND

Rush already implemented Ochsner’s tele-stroke program in 2018 across all seven hospitals, which allows nurses and physicians at Rush facilities to consult with Ochsner vascular neurologists.

Using telemedicine equipment to determine the best treatment options for stroke patients, Ochsner provides neurovascular care coverage 24 hours a day every day of the year.

By bringing stroke care directly to patients, Ochsner claims it has reduced the percentage of patients who need to be transferred to stroke centers, from more than 90% down to just 30%.

As one of the biggest independent academic medical centers in the U.S. and Louisiana’s largest health system, Ochsner’s 30 hospitals and 80-plus health centers and urgent care facilities employ nearly 20,000 people, including 1,200 physicians.

The health system has made digital innovation a central focus in recent years, centered on three data-driven initiatives aimed at improving care for hypertension, diabetes and obstetrics.

Connected care technologies have already enabled cost efficiencies with the management of chronic conditions, according to the FCC, which plans to advance a $100 million Connected Care Pilot Program, enabling telehealth expansion for low-income Americans nationwide.

As evidence of telehealth’s benefits, the FCC pointed to a pilot project in the Mississippi Delta that resulted in nearly $700,000 in annual savings thanks to reduced readmissions.

However, the results of a July survey conducted by J.D. Power indicated access to telehealth services still is low, with many questioning its value. Nearly three quarters of Americans said they are unaware of, or unable to access, telehealth services.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.
Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com
Twitter: @dropdeaded209
Healthcare IT News is a publication of HIMSS Media.