Slow adoption of $83M Epic EHR costs Covenant Health millions in losses

Tewksbury, Mass.-based Covenant Health reported $60.9 million in operating losses after implementing its new $83 million Epic EHR last year, Boston Business Journal reports. 

The health system has experienced a string of financial losses in recent years, with reported operating losses of $5 million in 2016, $4.2 million in 2017 and $60.9 million in 2018.

The losses in 2018 were primarily due to slow adoption of Covenant Health's Epic EHR system, which caused a 30 percent decrease in productivity at the health system's hospitals and provider practices, Covenant Health President and CEO Stephen Grubbs told the publication. Physician turnover at the health system, which has locations in six Northeastern states, also contributed to the financial issues.

Earlier this month, the Washington Department of Social and Health Services reported delays to its $32 million Cerner EHR implementation. Despite spending $21.8 million on the project, DSHS claimed that since hiring Cerner in 2015, no progress has been made on the project. Mendocino Coast District Hospital in Fort Bragg, Calif., has also experienced slow adoption of its $4 million Meditech EHR system, which the hospital has delayed indefinitely as it negotiates its contract with the EHR vendor over claims that the company provided an only partly finished system.

At Covenant Health, Mr. Grubbs said he anticipates the health system will deliver a better financial performance in 2019 now that the new Epic EHR has been in place for several months.

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