Cerner implementation sparks delays at Connecticut health system

Ever since Danbury-based Western Connecticut Health Network switched EHR software systems March 3 to Cerner — after dedicating nearly two years to preparation — patients have been complaining about problems reaching physicians, scheduling appointments and accessing other services, according to newstimes.

WCHN announced in 2015 they would transition to Cerner for systemwide support of its clinical and financial needs, as well as population health management. The health system completed that transition March 3, but issues have plagued its three hospitals since.

It took some patients, such as 80-year-old Carole Conaway, more than one and a half hours to schedule appointments with her primary care doctor and the specialist who treats her for her kidney disease, she told newstimes.

"I understand with new electronics it takes awhile to get it straightened out, but an hour and a half trying to make two appointments, that's ridiculous," Ms. Conaway, who worked in the radiology department at WCHN's Danbury (Conn.) Hospital when it first got computers in the 1990s, said.

Others, like Ann Marie Seavy-Cioffi's 93-year-old mother, waited four hours for a blood transfusion after a computer glitch hampered the procedure at Danbury. By the time the procedure began, there was only time to transfer one pint of blood, and Ms. Seavy-Cioffi was forced to reschedule her mother's appointment.

A notice on the health system's website warns patients they may experience longer waits or appointment times and apologizes for any inconvenience.

"Patients are receiving the same great clinical care that they have always received," WCHN officials said March 13 in a statement to newstimes. "As with any large scale technology transition, the true test comes when staff begin using the new system. While our providers adjust to this new technology, patients may notice longer wait or appointment times or increased presence of support staff."

Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Western Connecticut Health Network for comment. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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