Banner scraps UA's $115M Epic system for Cerner

Phoenix-based Banner Health announced plans to drop Epic's EHR system at its two Tucson hospitals and will replace the system with Cerner's platform, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The two hospitals — Banner-University Medical Center Tucson and Banner-University Medical Center South — adopted Epic's system while they were part of the former University of Arizona Health Network, which Banner acquired March 1. The hospitals went live on Epic's EHR in 2013, and in 2014 they reported significant operating losses in the 2014 fiscal year, such as an having to spend an extra $32 million in unbudgeted costs, according to the report. The total investment for the EHRs reached $115 million.

Much of the costs were due to a delay in implementation, as the scheduled go-live date was Sept. 1, 2013, but the system wasn't operational until Nov. 1. During that time, the hospitals experienced extra costs related to additional training and support, according to the report.

Additionally, an April 2014 report financial report to the UA board of directors said $6.8 million of the losses in fiscal year 2014 were attributed to physicians devoting time learning how to use the new system and a decrease in patient volumes, according to the report.

Banner Health plans to transition the two Tucson hospitals to Cerner's EHR in early 2018, as the rest of the health system's 28 hospitals use Cerner, according to the report.

Steve Lynn, former chair of the board of UA Health Network, said he does not think the Epic investment was a mistake, and the transition to Cerner's EHR won't be as difficult.

"Obviously there was pain and suffering. But the good news is that there's enough similarity between the two," Mr. Lynn toldthe Arizona Daily Star. "It is much more difficult to go from non-electronic to electronic than from one electronic system to another."

More articles on Epic:

7 takeaways from Epic's annual meeting — and why Judy Faulkner was dressed as Lucille Ball
Paul Levy: Partners HealthCare, Epic relationship fringes on antitrust violations
Epic, athenahealth only 2 vendors to not lose clients in 2014

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