5 things to know about Epic's terminated US Coast Guard contract

The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking a new EHR solution to implement across its 176 sites, which have been using paper records since the branch terminated its Epic contract in 2015.

Here are five things to know.

1. The Coast Guard awarded Epic the $14 million contract in September 2010, seeking to replace an outdated system, Becker's Hospital Review reported last year. However, the branch terminated its EHR contract with Epic in 2015, at which point it reverted to using paper records.

2. The initial plan was to roll out the software at two to three pilot sites within six months of the contract, but the Coast Guard never deployed the EHR system to any clinic or vessel, Politico reported in 2016.

The go-live, which was slated for 2011, was initially delayed while the Coast Guard obtained secure servers, according to Epic. The rollout had two additional delays when one storage area network server was corrupted — which Epic said "had never before happened to an Epic install" — and another was accidentally wiped.

3. In September 2015, the system was scheduled to go live a third time. However, the Coast Guard informed Epic it would not continue the contract, according to Epic. In a fact sheet released on May 2, Epic emphasized its work was "repeatedly rated 'Exemplary' by the USCG in formal documented reviews."

Epic said the company "fulfilled the terms of the agreement and provided the software and implementation services to meet the Epic obligations of the project. Epic was paid in full for the work done. The U.S. Government did not request any refund. The software was ready to go live."

4. At the time of the termination, a Coast Guard spokesman told Politico "various irregularities were uncovered" during the implementation, along with "concerns about the project's ability to deliver a viable product in a reasonable period of time and at a reasonable cost."

The Coast Guard also told Becker's Hospital Review the scope of the EHR project expanded from seeking an EHR into a "Service-wide Health, Safety and Workalike IT re-engineering project. The expansion of scope increased the cost and technical complexity of the project."

5. The U.S. Coast Guard on April 23 released a request for information, seeking industry insight on how to digitize the branch's paper health records. The branch wants its new integrated EHR to be interoperable with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense.

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