Centra expects long patient wait times while it consolidates 7 EHRs into 1 Cerner system

Centra Health in Lynchburg, Va., is planning to go live on a new Cerner EHR Sept. 1, as part of a multimillion dollar project that is among the largest in the health system's history, according to a WDBJ7 report.

The effort, dubbed Project Unison, will bring together more than 300,000 patient records spread across seven different EHR systems into a single, integrated Cerner system. Centra has been planning the project since August 2016, when it signed a contract with Cerner.

"Healthcare records have been disjointed enough that patients feel responsible for keeping their own records and being that point of continuity across settings," Centra CMO Chris Thomson, MD, told the news outlet. "Getting information from patients … it's not only added stress on the patient, it's added stress on the healthcare system."

Although all 8,500 staffers across Centra's nearly 80 facilities have been trained on the new EHR, and an estimated 400 trainers from Cerner will be present at Centra as a support team during the EHR's launch, hospitals officials have warned that disruptions to patient care are possible.

"As much as we've prepared there are going to be unexpected things that come up, but also with those increased times we also expect to find the issue and fix it quickly too," Centra COO and Senior Vice President Michael Elliott, PharmD, told WDBJ7.

Each hospital will also be equipped with a command center prepared to respond to any issues.

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