Rush Health Systems and Ochsner Health System Announce Strategic Partnership

Ochsner Medical Center, main campus.

MERIDIAN, Ms. Today, Rush Health Systems (Rush) and Ochsner Health System (Ochsner) announced a strategic partnership designed to enhance local healthcare services through the implementation of the best-in-class electronic health information software, Epic, and Ochsner’s comprehensive telemedicine capabilities. As part of the agreement, Rush will also gain access to Ochsner’s nationally-recognized billing practices and other support services with the goal of delivering a more seamless experience for patients and providers. Additional details were shared in a press release.

“Rush and Ochsner both have longstanding traditions of innovation and excellence in medical care and services,” said Larkin Kennedy, president and CEO, Rush Health Systems. “We are excited to partner with Ochsner to continue to improve quality and decrease costs, while providing a better patient experience. Our collaboration will result in the sharing of best practices, reduction of unnecessary costs and development of innovative care solutions through technology.”

Through this strategic partnership, Ochsner will install and implement Epic, an industry-leading electronic health information software, which will improve care coordination, patient registration, scheduling and clinical integration, while streamlining billing. Epic will effectively coordinate care for patients across Rush Health Systems and will allow patients to have better access to their own health information through Epic’s patient portal, MyChart. Through this secure online tool, patients can easily schedule appointments, communicate with their doctors, request prescription refills, and view visit summaries, lab and imaging results from their laptop, tablet or smart phone.

“Our strategic partnership with Rush represents our joint commitment to bringing innovative solutions and best-in-class technology to communities throughout the region,” said Warner Thomas, president and CEO, Ochsner Health System. “At Ochsner, we believe the best care is local care and this partnership provides Rush physicians and patients greater access to the depth and breadth of operational innovation and specialized care for which Ochsner is nationally recognized, while remaining right here in Mississippi and Alabama.”

Today’s announcement signifies the next step in a partnership between Rush and Ochsner. In 2018, all seven hospitals within Rush implemented Ochsner’s TeleStroke program, providing expert neurovascular care coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. TeleStroke allows nurses and physicians at Rush facilities to consult immediately with Ochsner vascular neurologists, using telemedicine equipment, to determine the best treatment options for stroke patients. In many cases, this allows patients to receive world-class care close to home.

Together, the organizations will look for additional opportunities to expand telehealth programs at Rush facilities, as well as provide Ochsner’s digital health offerings which could allow Rush patients to manage chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes from the comfort of their own homes.

Over time, the organizations plan to enhance existing and develop new clinical services to meet the healthcare needs of the communities Rush serves.

“Physicians from both organizations will have the opportunity to increase clinical collaboration, implement advanced, patient-centered technology and ultimately expand services in the region,” said Fred Duggan, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Rush Health Systems.

The arrangement creates a long-term strategic partnership structure between Ochsner and Rush to provide clinical and operational benefits and cost synergies for Rush physicians, community partners, and, most importantly, patients.

“Rush has long had great respect and regard for the Ochsner organization.  Throughout its rich medical history of innovation and growth, Rush has often modeled new developments in care and services after successful medical practices and protocols first put in place at Ochsner,” said Wallace Strickland, Chairman, Board of Directors, Rush Health Systems. “For decades our organization has had an outstanding relationship with the Ochsner leadership, harkening back to Dr. Leslie V. Rush, Sr., who hosted Dr. Alton Ochsner at Rush on several occasions in the early 1970s as a guest speaker for special events.”

Strickland added, “Several of our most highly regarded physicians received their medical training at Ochsner. Their clinical expertise and skills are a testament to the organization’s commitment to excellence in medicine.  Each of those physicians has provided outstanding care to the people of the communities we serve for decades. This new partnership is yet another way to strengthen our care and services by aligning Rush with such a dynamic healthcare leader.”

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