2 California hospitals scrutinized for bumpy EHR go-lives

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The Ventura County (Calif.) Health Care Agency is facing some criticism from the county's grand jury regarding the healthcare organization's implementation of its EHR platform.

In 2013, Ventura County Health Care Agency began implementing Cerner's EHR platforms in two hospitals and 40 clinics, according to the Ventura County Star. The implementation so far has cost $50 million, and the county is expected to pay $19 million more over the next 10 years for monitoring. At this time, the grand jury issued a report outlining concerns with the implementation.

In May 2014, the county's grand jury issued a second report saying the EHR transition was causing inefficient and delayed care, but the county officials working for the agency defended the implementations, saying they were aligning with federal mandates and that the second report , according to the Ventura County Star.

"The fact is we have a brand-new system we put into place that streamlined our patient care," said Barry Fisher, director of the Health Care Agency. "It has streamlined our billing processes."

Robert Stewart, foreman of the grand jury, said the initial 2013 report discussed concerns with the transition, and the second 2014 report focused on residual issues following the go-live. Mr. Stewart told Ventura County Star the 2014 report was initiated after receiving complaints from the public about the new system.

The 2014 report finds the Health Care Agency did not prepare for an independent review of the project nor did it have a plan to reduce risks.

"We're not throwing blame on the VCHCA," Mr. Stewart said. "We're just trying to point out ways the system could have been improved."

The grand jury's report recommends VCHCA adds more policies to allow for more review and risk management for future projects and that the county hire more IT employees.

More articles on EHRs:

Can a chronic disease model be used to improve EHRs?
How long do physicians spend charting on EHRs each day?
Beyond the EHR: Complementing clinical records with usable data

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