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Great River Health Systems Converts to Cerner Electronic Health Record

14 April 2014

On April 1st, 2014, Great River Health System went live with 56 Cerner solutions. The 14-month, "big-bang" conversion represents the largest project ever undertaken since the health system's opening, including 17 of their clinics and automating 16 specialties. Great River is 378-bed regional, integrated health-care system in Burlington, Iowa, that includes: retail pharmacies; retail medical equipment and supplies services; an outpatient renal dialysis center; and a network of specialty and primary-care clinics located throughout the southeast Iowa, west-central Illinois and northeast Missouri region.

This integrated health record is a departure from a decade-long IT plan that featured buying several systems that served a single purpose. Prior to the implementation of the Cerner EHR, Great River utilized Meditech, Next Gen, Maestro, and Nimbus EMR solutions. With the new integrated electronic health record (EHR), the staff at Great River look forward to improved efficiency and patient safety through a medical record that is consolidated down to one source. The Cerner EHR will provide clinicians a one-stop location for patient medical data, which will help to prevent unnecessary tests. Patients will also be provided with Cerner's online portal to view their medical records.

Planning and education plays a significant role in the success of any system conversion, and Great River understood this. "We did an excellent job in planning," said Cheryl Lambert, Nursing Director of medical services at Great River. "We had a system wide approach." Their approach included 4 training sessions in clinical documentation as well as 1-2 more sessions in the specialty areas, such as with FirstNet in the ICU and SurgiNet in the perioperative areas. Educators and subject matter experts, along with the Super-users, worked together to provide training for all of the solutions, which included multiple practice sessions as well as support from the education team.

For a conversion to produce tangible results, a true partnership needs to be developed before the go-live¿one built on communication, understanding, and shared vision. "Everyone, Cerner and Great River, has worked extremely hard," explained Lambert. "Along the way, we have managed to build new relationships and new friendships based on knowledge, growth and mutual respect."

During the conversion itself, the Cerner at the elbow support team worked to enlist more than 15 Great River associates to "officially" becoming Cerner advocates, speaking on our behalf. These professionals are found across their entire organization, from financial and quality management, to various physicians and executives. These individual advocates, in concert with the benefits the client is sure to achieve, ensures that Great River will become a site that showcases more and more achievements in the near future.

For more information, read the full press release on the Great River Medical website.

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