Epic EHR Integration Improves Data Integrity and Reporting Speed at Bon Secours Mercy Health
Time Saved Generating Reports 50%
MRNs Included in Report Data Improved 0% to 84%
Higher Patient and Provider Satisfaction
Improved ADA Compliance
Bon Secours Mercy Health is one of the largest health systems in the United States, and the country’s fifth-largest Catholic health system. The ministry provides care across 1,000 sites – including 48 hospitals – in Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, and Virginia, as well as throughout Ireland.
The mission of Bon Secours Mercy Health is rooted in providing compassionate care, with a focus on helping underserved communities and those in need. To help advance this mission, the health system entered into a partnership with AMN Healthcare Language Services in 2020.
In the years since, AMN Healthcare and Bon Secours Mercy Health have partnered to improve communication between providers and patients who are limited English proficient (LEP), deaf, and hard-of-hearing. In collaboration with the health system’s in-house language services team, AMN Healthcare provides on-demand interpretation services at Bon Secours Mercy Health facilities – including over-the-phone interpretation (OPI) and video-remote interpretation (VRI) services.
As the partnership developed, AMN Healthcare approached Bon Secours Mercy Health with a new opportunity to further enhance the patient and provider experience by integrating language services with its Epic electronic health record (EHR).
For hospitals and health systems, eliminating language barriers is essential to providing equitable care for every patient. Language services teams make it their mission to facilitate timely, accurate interpretation. But to satisfy ADA compliance and other regulatory standards, simply connecting patients with an interpreter is not enough. Health systems also need to maintain an accurate record of the services offered.
To gather the necessary reporting information, Bon Secours Mercy Health required providers to collect patient information before an interpretation session began. This was accomplished by asking the patient a series of identifying questions, which were then recorded by the interpreter.
While the process made sense in theory, it was a step that could be easily deprioritized – especially given the fast pace of many hospital environments.
“From a compliance standpoint, documentation is very important,” said Ricardo Torres, system director of language services at Bon Secours Mercy Health. “But it’s always been up to providers to capture the information.”
Every time Ricardo and his team reviewed the report data for language services, large portions of patient data were found to be missing – with many responses coded as “refused to answer.” Whether the patient truly refused to answer the question was unknown. Regardless , the lack of comprehensive reporting data was a serious issue.
“Providers are always busy, so historically it left our data lacking,” said Ricardo. “In looking at our reports, we saw huge gaps in the way data was being captured.”
To alleviate the problem of missing report data, AMN Healthcare Language Services developed a new Epic EHR integration that directly connects interpreters to the patient record at Bon Secours Mercy Health.
“Our Epic EHR integration was designed to streamline the interpretation process,” said Jeff Shelby, product manager for AMN Healthcare Language Services. “It automates the documentation of language services data, resulting in a simpler, more efficient workflow for both patients and providers.”
With the Epic integration, providers no longer need to verbally answer questions about a patient’s medical record before each interpretation session.
When initiating an interpretation session through the Epic EHR, providers at Bon Secours Mercy Health are now shown a unique session code. After an interpreter joins, the provider verbally shares the code, which provides access to the patient’s EHR information. When the session is complete, key information including the interpreter name, language, and session time is automatically recorded as a “result note” in the patient chart – ensuring documentation compliance.
Transforming Data Integrity
By directly connecting with the EHR at Bon Secours Mercy Health, the AMN Healthcare Language Services Epic integration has eliminated manual data entry. The result: A dramatic improvement in data quality, evidenced by the reporting of each patient’s unique medical record number (MRN).
The old process of recording patient data was highly manual. No patient MRNs were recorded, and the language services team had to match the report data with a patient’s EHR data.
Less than a year after implementing the Epic EHR integration, Bon Secours Mercy Health has transformed the initial accuracy of its language services reports – with 84% of patient encounter records including a MRN. The language services team also has a renewed sense of confidence in the quality of its report and compliance data.
“Before the Epic EHR integration, our report data was full of holes,” said Ricardo. “Now, there’s consistency in the way our data is presented within the platform.”
In addition to improving report accuracy, the new AMN Healthcare Language Services Epic integration has helped boost efficiency for the language services department and providers.
Before the EHR integration, staff would spend days searching through the facility’s patient record to find and correct missing data entries before submitting a report.
“Just for the American Sign Language (ASL) population, it has saved me 50% of my time trying to match data,” said Julia Tate, language services manager for Bon Secours Mercy Health in Greenville, South Carolina. “I can produce my reports much quicker because our information is more complete.”
In speaking with providers, Julia has also heard feedback that the integration is reducing patient encounter times.
“Not asking those initial identifying questions cuts one or two minutes off of every session,” she added.
Boosting Patient and Provider Satisfaction
The combination of the AMN Heathcare Langue Services VRI platform and Epic EHR integration is improving the interpretation experice for patients and providers alike.
Providers at Bon Secours Mercy Health are no longer responsible for asking for patient data before every interpretation session. And patients can speak with their provider as soon as the interpreter arrives, eliminating conversations between the physician and interpreter that the patient may not understand.”
“This has been a gamechanger for us,” said Julia. “And I think patients are happier too.”
Increase the Efficiency of Your Interpretation Services
By integrating AMN Healthcare Language Services with your Epic EHR, you gain access to an experienced Qualified Medical Interpreter , while eliminating manual data entry and increasing accuracy. Learn how we can partner to help you at amnhealthcare.com/language-services.