UW Medicine allocates $180M to move to single EHR

The Seattle-based UW Medicine Finance and Asset Management Committee approved a $180 million plan for a 30-monthslong endeavor to replace its Cerner and Epic EHRs with a single, integrated platform.

The plan must still receive the OK from the UW Board of Regents, which is set to review it July 12.

The Clinical Transformation Project will move the health system's eight entities onto a single EHR solution. Currently, two UW Medicine hospitals — UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, both in Seattle — operate on Cerner Millennium, while Seattle-based Northwest Hospital uses Cerner Soarian and all others use Epic.

"Moving to a single outpatient/inpatient EHR will not only mitigate the risk related to the end of the Soarian contract at NWH, it will allow for UW Medicine to sunset more than 70 other ancillary systems that are currently in use across the enterprise," reads the health system's proposed project plan. "IT estimates significant savings in the licensing and subscription costs, and in the cost incurred to support the proliferation of systems across UW Medicine."

In total, the project will cost $180 million, which is composed of $159.5 million in direct project costs and $20.8 million in site-specific costs, such as that of staff training.

Throughout the entire fiscal year 2019, UW Medicine will work to design and build its new system. It will begin testing and site prep at the start of fiscal year 2020 and conclude testing in the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 when the first go-live is scheduled. If needed, a second go-live is slated for the second quarter of fiscal year 2021.

Hospital officials estimate the project will generate a positive cash flow beginning after the full implementation in fiscal year 2022, and it expects its $13.1 million annual debt service payment to be fully offset each year.

UW Medicine has not revealed whether it will build its own system or select an EHR vendorfor the $180 million effort.

Editor's Note: This article was updated July 10, 2018 at 12:09 p.m. to reflect that the UW Medicine Finance and Asset Management Committee approved the plan but the plan still requires the Board of Regents approval before moving forward.

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