$32M Cerner EHR install at Washington state facilities delayed for years

The Cerner EHR implementation at Washington's Department of Social and Health Services is currently delayed as the state negotiates its $32 million contract with the EHR vendor, the Tacoma News Tribune reports. 

DSHS hired Cerner in 2015 to install and provide support for a new EHR system at state-run facilities including Lakewood-based Western State Hospital. DSHS claimed that since hiring Cerner, no progress has been made on the project but the department has spent $21.8 million on costs, including professional services contracts and salaries and benefits of DSHS employees assigned to the EHR implementation, according to the report.

Cerner did not respond to the publication's requests for comment.

DSHS cited a contract dispute with the EHR vendor and issues installing the new system in older facilities as contributing factors to the delay.

"With any contract that you have with a vendor, there comes times when there may be differences in how we see the contract and how they see the contract," DSHS Assistant Secretary Sean Murphy told the Tacoma News Tribune. "We continue to work with them to work through those elements to get where we need to at the end of the day."

The project's timeline was previously altered to accommodate an implementation deadline for October 2015. The deadline was then broken up into phases, with priority items slated for completion by October 2015 and all other items finished by September 2017. The deadlines were not met, according to the report. 

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