Catholic Health to implement $135M EHR in partnership with local college

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A Buffalo, N.Y.-based healthcare provider is one of the first in the area to procure an Epic electronic health record system on this scale.

To make the move, Catholic Health has partnered with Canisius College in Buffalo to help with the implementation.

After a two-year evaluation process, Catholic Health has selected Epic to provide a $135 million EHR platform—the largest investment in the organization’s history—that will replace the current system and enable its clinicians to improve care delivery and population health management.

“Since our inception, Catholic Health has been at the forefront in bringing advanced technology to our community,” said Mark Sullivan, president and CEO of Catholic Health. “With Epic, we are making the most significant investment in the history of our health system to continue transforming care throughout Western New York and to deliver on our promise to provide the highest quality care, now and into the future.”

It will take about 18 months to implement the single, integrated system for seamlessly sharing health information across the organization, with the go-live slated for late 2020. Catholic Health will hire 40 new information technology, clinical and business specialists to staff its 150-member EHR implementation team, which will include its existing IT team and personnel from Epic.

In addition, Catholic Health has partnered with Canisius College in Buffalo to establish a technology center designed to build and test the new system. The 150-member EHR implementation team will be located in the college’s Main Street Science Hall, where the healthcare provider will lease 25,000 square feet of space on the building’s third floor.

“When we looked at office space in the community to house our implementation team, the synergies between Catholic Health and Canisius College were many, especially the alignment of our missions,” adds Sullivan. “The open floor plan, in an environment conducive to learning, is the perfect setting for a project of this kind. One of our goals is to create a talent pipeline between the college and our health system to give students real-world experience that they can put into practice within our health system.”

According to Catholic Health, more than 1,000 physicians, nurses, associates and management staff participated in the selection of Epic for the EHR replacement—a process that included their participation in vendor demonstrations and user surveys.

“We wanted this to be an inclusive process, and Epic was the clear choice among our physicians, nurses and associates for its ease of use, functionality and the integration it will give us across our system and for patients throughout the community,” said Michael Galang, senior vice president and chief information officer at Catholic Health.

Galang adds that MyChart—Epic’s patient portal for mobile, tablet and desktop apps—will enable Catholic Health’s patients to access their medical information, such as test results and personalized care plans, as well as the ability to message providers, make appointments and pay bills online.

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