EHR implementation and adoption continue to plague members of the healthcare community in northern California, no matter the make or model of the EHR technology.
According to a report in the Contra Costa Times, the Bay Area’s Alameda Health System finds itself in a financial crisis as a result of myriad factors, one of which is its plan to implement the Siemens Soarian EHR system — an investment originally expected to cost $77 million to move the healthcare organization from paper to electronic records.
Board of trustees member James Lugannani revealed that the health system had used up both its cash and credit resources from the county of Alameda. The situation has forced leadership from Alameda Health System, including its CEO Wright Lassiter III, to ask Alameda County for financial help.
Here’s the breakdown about the EHR’s role in the health system’s predicament:
Want to publish your own articles on DistilINFO Publications?
Send us an email, we will get in touch with you.
Health care executives, including Lassiter, have said hiccups in the implementation of a new Siemens Soarian electronic records system by Pennsylvania-based Siemens Healthcare are not the sole cause of the hospital network’s current woes, but the IT troubles play a big part in the cash flow crisis affecting Highland Hospital in Oakland and other hospitals and clinics run by the consortium. Other reasons for the liquidity problems are delayed reimbursements from the federal government and the system’s recent takeover of two hospitals in San Leandro and Alameda, administrators have said.
Despite a statement from Siemens indicating that the technology is functioning correctly, Alameda Health System’s CIO Dave Gravender revealed otherwise in a report to the hospital board of trustees, indicating unforeseen developments in the activation of the EHR technology related to its billing functionalities.
However, since its financial troubles have emerged, leadership from the health system has gone silent and even reversing on scheduled plans to speak with Contra Costa Times. Perhaps the recent authorization of a $1.5 million-contract with Siemens to work through EHR-related problems alongside hospital staff is the cause.
The case of Alameda Health System puts the health system in the same class of other area health systems which have experienced rather serious problems with their EHR implementations.
Last month, two John Muir Health campuses in Walnut Creek and Concord had to cope with Epic EHR downtime. The cause of the outage remains a mystery. And for the past two years, members of the Contra Costa County medical community have highlighted difficulties in their Epic EHR implementations and adoptions that have at best disrupted clinical workflows and at worst nearly led to a fatal incident. What the future holds for Alameda Health System is unclear although the CEO’s ten-year tenure at the helm is coming to an end in December.
The costs of EHR implementations in northern California are equivalent to those across the country, but their EHR adoption-related problems appear to be their own.
Date: October 13, 2014