Cerner upgrade causes delays at Banner's Tucson hospitals, clinics

Banner Health's Tucson hospitals and clinics are experiencing problems such as patient delays stemming from a $45 million EHR upgrade that went live Oct. 1, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

The transition to Cerner has been a "painful period" for Banner's Tucson operations but should pay off in the long run, said John Hensing, MD, chief clinical officer for the Phoenix-based Banner Health.

"There will be a degradation in the way the system operates," Dr. Hensing said. "Patients and physicians, and nurses and others will almost certainly experience that. That is true for any new application like this. It's a complicated event to move everyone from one system to another."

Officials with the Arizona Department of Health Services told the Arizona Daily Star they are investigating complaints about the computer system, but did not disclose any details.

Banner has been preparing for its switch to Cerner for more than a year. The system previously operated on Epic, but opted for Cerner because it is expected to foster improved patient care and research capabilities. Banner also hopes Cerner will save it money — Epic resulted in unprecedented operating losses in the 2014 fiscal year for the University of Arizona Health Network, including $32 million in unbudgeted costs.

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