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Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Health System Poised to ‘Flip Switch’ on Total Computer Overhaul
Start Date

SJMHS will perform major computer upgrade this weekend.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Livingston and Saline hospitals have been using electronic health records (EHR) for more than 15 years now. But, it’s time for an upgrade – a major upgrade.

Genesis, as the project is named, is a $400 million initiative for parent company, Trinity Health, Novi, Mich. to use a group of applications to produce a uniform electronic health record charting system. Genesis is the largest and most active EHR program in Michigan and once fully implemented, Trinity Health will have one of the largest clinical databases in the country. To date, Genesis has a record of seven million electronic records nation-wide with an investment of more than $177 million in Michigan ($400 million nationally).

“At St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Livingston and Saline hospitals, we are upgrading the computer system so applications are integrated and can communicate with each other. It’s a complicated scenario because we’re not moving from a paper to a paperless system; we’re upgrading and integrating many computer programs into one seamless system,” explained Dr. Rolland Mambourg vice president for physician services and executive champion for the project. “Where we once had more than 30 computer systems talking to each other across Trinity Health, we will now have four standard applications.”

Genesis includes implementation of an updated computerized physician order entry (CPOE) program, an adverse drug event (ADE) alert system, and the timely incorporation of equipment that health care providers can use for bedside patient care and more precise record keeping.

On a practical level, noted Mambourg, patients will notice subtle changes in their care. “Most of the changes will be invisible to patients. They are already used to seeing computers in our hallways and at their bedside. However, the patient safety tools involved with Genesis position us to dramatically increase safety measures.”

Additionally, the highest levels of government are encouraging the push toward a health care system that is more wired.

“As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which is poised to advance a health reform bill, I am proud to see Michigan paving the way toward reform with implementations like this one at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. I firmly believe the expansion of electronic health records improves communication between health care providers and patients, reduces duplicative tests and medical errors, and decrease the piles of endless paperwork. Ultimately, this improves safety, quality and efficiency of health care delivery and saves lives,” commented Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Trinity Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System’s groundbreaking role has positioned us well for elements of health reform that relate to health IT and comparative effectiveness research,” explained Garry C. Faja, president and chief executive officer of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. “We are reform ready.”

While not without challenges, Genesis has been skillfully executed with consistent governance engagement and management leadership, added Faja. “The results we sought are being achieved, and, in many instances, exceeded. Health care policy makers and other health systems now look to Trinity Health for guidance to stimulate the implementation of electronic health records across the country.”

On Saturday, Oct. 10 at 12 a.m. administrators and information systems professionals will begin the integration of medical records from the current system to the updated system.

Hospital leaders have been planning for the calculated transition for the past three years. As a result, Mambourg says he anticipates a smooth transition during the Genesis go-live on Saturday.

"Thanks to a great many hours of training and preparation, we plan to make a smooth, seamless transition to a new generation of electronic health record,” he said. “Extra staff members will be in place, and every possible contingency has been addressed.”

More than 200 fellow Trinity Health employees from across the nation will be descending upon the Ann Arbor, Saline and Livingston County areas to assist with the go-live. These are employees at various member organizations who have already launched the computer platform and will be able to assist with the process, or they are from member organizations that have yet to launch their electronic health record system and will be learning while on site.

The three St. Joseph Mercy hospitals represent the 14th Trinity Health Genesis go-live. St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron and St. Mary Mercy Livonia previously launched the Genesis platform and Chelsea Community Hospital will follow suit over the next two years.

“It may take some time before everyone is completely comfortable with our new way of managing information and delivering care, but we all understand how much it will benefit the patients. In the end, that is what is most important,” concluded Mambourg.