Major Health System Taps MEDITECH for Virtual EHR Implementations

The largest private healthcare network in the country will now be on one connected MEDITECH EHR system because of 18 virtual EHR implementations during COVID-19.

Steward Health Care tapped MEDITECH for 18 virtual EHR implementations across Arizona, Utah, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas to streamline patient data sharing across the medical facilities.

Steward Health Care, the largest private healthcare network in the country, extended its partnership with MEDITECH over a year ago to take the next step toward its “One Platform” strategy, to bring all 35 of its hospitals under one interoperable EHR.

“Steward is committed to delivering high quality care to patients, and keeping them safe during the pandemic,” David Colarusso, chief information officer at Steward Health Care, said in a statement. “I am pleased with our team for successfully adapting to a virtual implementation, to bring our community the EHR technology needed to navigate care during these difficult times.”

COVID-19 has challenged EHR vendors and health organizations across the country. Provider organizations that were set to move forward with traditionally labor-intensive EHR implementations were torn between their need for an updated or new system and their organization’s new remote work.

MEDITECH organized an implementation task force to handle virtual implementations during the pandemic. Steward said the remote implementations were a 24/7 virtual team effort and the vendor’s on-site executive sponsor supported the go-lives.

“Steward has maintained a strong collaborative partnership with MEDITECH over the last 20 years,” said Joseph Weinstein, MD, chief medical officer of Steward Health Care. “I am proud of the tireless efforts by both teams in shifting to a virtual implementation strategy to successfully replace our legacy EHR with MEDITECH Expanse.”

Leaders at Steward pointed to the vendor’s revenue cycle solution as a top reason for the implementation. The organization said it could quickly process claims following the multiple go-lives.

With the implementation of the Expanse EHR, the health system hopes to see interoperability across all facilities. This will ideally increase patient safety, improve communication, and improve patient care.

Steward Health Care Network employs roughly 42,000 health care professionals, 5,000 physicians, and cares for more than 12 million patients per year.

This was not the first time the vendor conducted a remote EHR implementation as a result of the coronavirus.

Over summer 2020, MEDITECH completed virtual implementations at health facilities in New York and Arizona.

Cayuga Medical Center, located in Ithaca, New York, decided to go ahead with the remote EHR implementation because the implementation was nearing completion. And unlike New York City, Ithaca was not experiencing a patient surge during COVID-19.

Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center in Safford, Arizona, was also in the midst of implementing MEDITECH’s Expanse EHR platform when the pandemic hit. Health IT experts from Mt. Graham worked with the MEDITECH team to implement virtual training, before the go-live in May.

According to its customers, MEDITECH exceeded expectations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

KLAS researchers asked healthcare professionals to rate their vendor’s reaction and support during the coronavirus on a 9-point scale. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said their vendor generally exceeded expectations.

While Epic Systems and Cerner led the way, MEDITECH was right behind, scoring a 7.9. Its customers pointed to the vendor’s positive communication skills throughout the pandemic’s first wave.

“Most MEDITECH customers share glowing feedback about MEDITECH’s response to the crisis, including rapid communication and free-of-charge services or software,” wrote KLAS. “Best practices from the vendor also helped several customers navigate COVID-19 challenges.”

Respondents also reported several optimized EHR tools to aid users during the pandemic.

“MEDITECH has been very impactful,” said an anonymous MEDITECH client. “They were lightning fast in gathering, building, and rolling out all kinds of templates and order sets so that we could maximize our use of the system. The system has tools for surveillance, monitoring, registries, and order sets. MEDITECH pulled together a SWAT team and did a fantastic job.”

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