[Updated] US Coast Guard terminates Epic contract

The U.S. Coast Guard terminated its EHR implementation contract with Verona, Wis.-based Epic Systems and has since reverted to using paper records, reports Politico.

The Coast Guard awarded Epic the $14 million contract in September 2010, seeking to replace a system it deemed outdated.

A Coast Guard spokesman offered few details to Politico regarding the state of the implementation, saying "various irregularities were uncovered, which are currently being reviewed."

The initial plan was to roll out the software at two to three pilot sites within six months of the contract, but the Coast Guard never deployed the EHR system to any clinic or vessel.

The overall project involved five vendors: Epic, Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Apprio and InterSystems.

An Epic spokesperson told Becker's Hospital Review the software itself was ready, but other elements of the implementation were not.

The Coast Guard spokesman told Politico the decision to delay the go-live was due to "concerns about the project's ability to deliver a viable product in a reasonable period of time and at a reasonable cost."

The Coast Guard said the return to paper records has not harmed patients or "the quality of healthcare provided to our people," according to Politico.

According to a statement the Coast Guard sent to Becker’s Hospital Review, the scope of the EHR project expanded from seeking an EHR into a "Service-wide Health, Safety and Workalike IT re-engineering project. The expansion of scope increased the cost and technical complexity of the project."

The Coast Guard said it continues to review and close out contract matters and any outstanding invoices, payments or potential claims. Additionally, the Coast Guard will renew its search for a new EHR.

"The Coast Guard has reset its pursuit of an EHR system and will use its formal acquisition process to update requirements and conduct a detailed analysis of possible alternatives," according to the statement. The Coast Guard does not yet have a projected EHR implementation timeline.  

Note: This article was updated April 25 to include additional comments from the U.S. Coast Guard.

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