University Hospitals' Epic install to cost $400M

Cleveland-based University Hospitals expects its Epic install to cost about $400 million, a significant drop from the $600 million it had initially budgeted, according to financial documents published Dec. 14. 

The payback period is projected to be just under five years with annual financial benefits greater than $100 million once fully implemented, according to the 18-hospital system.  

The project kicked off in fall 2021 and converted 5.6 million patient records and scheduling systems into one EHR. The first of two "go-lives" was in March 2023, with the second and larger "go-live" taking place on Sept. 30. 

The Epic implementation consolidates more than 15 systems that currently drive most of the UH patient care experience. Moving to a single integrated EHR is expected to facilitate the delivery of analytics across the system and help UH to more efficiently take advantage of several artificial intelligence predictive models that are being proposed. 

"Installing a new EHR is a multi-year implementation, so it's important to put in the work during the business case and pre-initiate stage in order to build a plan that can stay relatively consistent. At UH, for example, we had to manage five budgets — one capital throughout as well as four annual operating budgets," UH CIO Robert Eardley told Becker's, "Also, make sure that in addition to the Epic implementation team, you find and contract with a trusted labor agency for certified trainers and for activation support. This will likely be one of your largest expenses. It's important to really understand your split between capital and operating expense — more than 35% of our total budget was operating expense."

Now that the migration to Epic is complete, UH said that it will track benefits resulting from this system to ensure benefits are achieved for its patients, caregivers and mission.

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