How does Epic feel about Cerner winning the DOD contract?

After the Department of Defense announced last week the team with Cerner, Leidos and Accenture won the federal contract to overhaul the military health system's health records, many in the healthcare IT world were surprised. The team comprised of Epic, IBM and Impact Advisors were favored to walk away with the $4.3 billion, 10-year initial contract.

Neither Epic nor Cerner has commented publicly on the contract, but Epic employees have been vocal.

The Capital Times spoke with several Epic employees under the condition of anonymity regarding the contract. One former employee said current employees are also rather surprised. "Current Epic employees seem very taken aback. They seem very shocked and surprised," he told The Capital Times. "And then the former Epic employees — I think we're also surprised but, to a certain extent, [we've] sort of seen behind the curtain. [We've] seen that the emperor isn't wearing clothes."

A current Epic employee compared the loss to Big 10 football, telling The Capital Times, "It's like we're the Badger football team and a top recruit went to Minnesota, [and you say], 'Why would you go to Minnesota? That makes no sense,' and then you take a step back and go, 'They're a great football team, too.'"

The current employee also said the contract going to Cerner is probably in the best interest for Epic and the vendor's clients. "Epic's current customers are probably breathing a sigh of relief," he said. "Their [research and development] request aren't going to be put on the back burner because of the Department of Defense."

What's more, Epic may come out on the other side with a positive spin. "We've been really in the crosshairs for the first time ever for things like interoperability," the current employee told The Capital Times. "We have a lobbyist for a reason — to make sure our position is being heard. If we had gotten this sale, the crosshairs would have really grown a lot. Everyone would have been focusing on us. And it's interesting, now that it's someone else, are Congresspeople going to be white knighting us, [saying], 'Well if you had bought Epic…'?"

The report also points to a blog called "Life After Epic," written by an individual who was fired from the company. The blogger offers two opinions on the decision, a professional one and a personal one.

"Since [Epic founder and CEO] Judy [Faulkner] has all the appearances of a shady businesswoman, I'm pleased that she did not win the contract. Since there's been so much conflict of interest with other stuff, given Judy's presence on Obama's EHR group, I'm glad that in this situation, Epic gets to be above board," the blogger wrote. "Anecdotally, Cerner is garbage, and the DOD has admitted faulty software choices in the past. In five years, I expect they'll be transitioning to Epic."

More articles on the DOD contract:

Where the DOD contract falls short: Thoughts from athenahealth
Cerner wins DOD contract to modernize military health records: 10 things to know
Health IT leaders offer DOD EHR contract predictions

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