Medical Center Health System CEO Rick Napper: 'There is no ideal electronic medical system'

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Rick Napper, president and CEO of Odessa, Texas-based Medical Center Health System, discussed the health system's troubled Cerner implementation at a Feb. 13 meeting with the Ector County Hospital District board of directors, the Odessa American reports.

Medical Center Health System went live on a Cerner EMR in April 2017. Officials were awarded a roughly $55 million budget for the project, about $34.7 million of which has been spent. Mr. Napper said he expects the total cost to come in at $47 million, despite the initial rollout including issues with system stabilization, revenue cycle management and reporting issues.

Mr. Napper argued to the board that these issues are not unique to Cerner. Other hospitals that have worked with major EHR vendors — such as Epic or Meditech — have faced similar problems, according to Mr. Napper. "There was an attempt to find an ideal system," Mr. Napper said when discussing how the health system selected Cerner. "That is not a possibility. There is no ideal electronic medical system."

To address issues associated with the EMR rollout, Mr. Napper said he now has a weekly one-on-one phone call with Cerner executives. Medical Center Health System has also contracted with Xtend to manage its revenue cycle functions until its employees are better trained and health system executives and Cerner staff meet three times a week to discuss the go-live process.

The EMR rollout has shown progress since Mr. Napper and Cerner executives committed to communicating on a weekly basis, the Odessa American reports.

"Probably the biggest issue that typically happens is training," Mr. Napper said. "Typically it is several months down the road before you realize you did not do that well enough for your staff, and I stand before you admitting that we did not do that well enough."

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