Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services Epic Cloud Deployment

In 2018, Pine Rest needed to quickly deploy a new electronic medical records (EMR) system to support its expanding patient operations. The behavioral health services facility selected US Signal, a Premier VMware Partner, to host the new Epic EMR solution on a VMware-based cloud infrastructure.

The secure, scalable environment now underpins Pine Rest’s mission to improve access to behavioral health services across sixteen locations.

About Pine Rest

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services is the fourth-largest behavioral health provider in America. The organization has revenues of over $134 million and nearly 2,000 employees offering a full range of services at 17 locations across Michigan and Iowa.

In 2017, Pine Rest serviced over 48,000 patients via inpatient, partial hospitalization and residential programs, outpatient and teletherapy services, addiction treatment and recovery programs, and an assortment of resources for children and seniors.

When Legacy Systems Fail to Support Growth

Since 2010, Pine Rest has experienced a patient growth rate of more than 30 percent.

Its existing EMR system, which didn’t allow coordination between inpatient and outpatient operations, was hampering the organization’s ability to maintain its high level of service amid such intensive growth.

Pine Rest wanted to better standardize registration procedures, information requests, and other electronic health record functions for improved efficiency and communications across its entire service offering.

It needed to roll out the new solution quickly and with minimal disruption to its day-to-day operational responsibilities.

Finding a Secure and Seamless Online Solution

A previously attempted infrastructure upgrade had resulted in a system failure that jeopardized a whole week of employee payroll and left management wary of large-scale transitions.

This time, Pine Rest wanted to ensure superior IT infrastructure without the time and cost associated with building a new data center. The solution needed to protect sensitive patient and employee information and comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as well as Michigan’s even more stringent mental health code requirements.

Ultimately, Pine Rest wanted to identify and provide more healing moments for patients within its community and expanding sphere of influence.

A key example of this is the high demand for outpatient psychiatric consultations. Pine Rest realized telepsychiatry services, with high-quality video and audio interaction between psychiatrists and the patients, could create a more accessible service for people who were unwilling or unable to visit a Pine Rest location in person.

To support growth in the organization’s reach and service capabilities, Pine Rest turned to the cloud.

The VMware Solution

Pine Rest partnered with US Signal, a Premier VMware Cloud Provider, to host the Epic EMR solution and other business critical applications on a cloud infrastructure based on vSphere.

US Signal also provides Pine Rest with a customized disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solution to ensure availability of mission critical applications, with a tested and verified 15-minute recovery time objective (RTO).

“We needed a trusted and reliable partner like US Signal to help advance our cloud-first strategy. We also wanted a partner that worked closely with VMware, because of its leadership in developing virtualization technologies to form the basis of our hybrid cloud infrastructure,” says Bill Johnson, director of information services for Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.

The Future is in the Cloud for Pine Rest

Despite the project’s size and complexity, the Pine Rest Epic EMR deployment was completed in just eight months with minimal disruptions to everyday operations.

“With the magnitude of the rollout and compressed timeline of our project, there is no way we could have done this on our own or in the old way of standing up new data center hardware,” says Johnson.

“Cloud is the new way. We now have a more scalable and secure environment with the help of US Signal and VMware. We have the gold standard for our EMR and IT infrastructure, one that supports Pine Rest’s mission to heal the whole person.”

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