The Staggering Cost Of An Epic Electronic Health Record Might Not Be Worth It

Zina Moukheiber | Forbes | June 18, 2012

...[B]ecause it is no small task to deploy [Epic, Judith Faulkner] is there all the way to hand-hold jittery CIOs, and help them get millions of dollars in government subsidies by showing meaningful use of her EHR. Her not-for-profit clientèle will need every penny of those taxpayers’ dollars, but they won’t cover anywhere near the staggering cost of an Epic EHR. Duke University Health System will shell out $700 million, so will Boston -based Partners HealthCare; University of California, San Francisco will pay $150 million. Customers, such as New Hampshire’s Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center are feeling the pinch. DHMC which implemented Epic last year at a cost of $80 million, expects a weak operating performance in 2012, partly because of expenses related to Epic.

As it is, hospitals are not in great financial shape. In addition to the HITECH Act which calls for the adoption of EHRs, hospitals face increased capital spending because of new ObamaCare rules, and changes in Medicare reimbursement. Moody’s expects rating downgrades to exceed upgrades this year, and Standard & Poor’s forecasts operating performance to deteriorate.With those significant outlays, hospitals will ultimately be passing on the cost of their pricey EHRs to their patients. Some IT decision-makers, such as Ryan Champlin of Cook Children’s Healthcare System, also question whether an Epic EHR is going to buy better health. Champlin passed on Epic...