Southcoast Health live on Epic EHR after layoffs, $30M operating loss

New Bedford, Mass.-based Southcoast Health is one of the latest health systems to go live on Epic's EHR, but the journey to flipping the switch was a bumpy one.

Southcoast Health launched the new EHR at three hospitals, two urgent care centers and more than 400 physician offices.

"We began this journey three years ago with our decision to make a major investment in our electronic health record as part of our commitment to improving the Southcoast Health experience and the way care is delivered to our patients," said Keith Hovan, president and CEO of Southcoast Health.

However, during the implementation process, Southcoast Health faced financial troubles partly due to the costs associated with the EHR project and ultimately had to lay off 105 employees between October 2014 and January 2015, according to a Boston Business Journal report.

Southcoast Health faced a $30 million operating loss in its fiscal year which ended September 2014. The report indicates the Epic implementation contributed to the loss, alongside a new physician practice, retail pharmacies and payroll increases.

Other hospitals and health systems have faced similar financial stresses during Epic implementations. In May, Burlington, Mass.-based Lahey Health said it was laying off 130 people to close the budget gap. The three-hospital system reported losing $21 million in the six months ended March 31, partly due to lost business during the winter's snowstorms and partly due to its Epic EHR implementation.

More articles on EHRs:

EHR implementation: Keeping million-dollar projects from bleeding beyond the budget
CMS permits hardship exception for providers switching EHRs
Pressure grows on CIOs to squeeze value from EHRs: 5 key takeaways


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