- Epic is disputing a competitor's claim that it won a $62 million contract with the University of Illinois Hospital & Health System by unfair means.
- In a letter to the State of Illinois Procurement Policy Board obtained by FierceHealthcare, Epic CEO Judy Faulkner said a complaint filed by Cerner failed to establish any conflict of interest. Faulkner also wrote that while Cerner’s bid was lower at $60.5 million, the total cost to implement that system was estimated at $154 million — versus $151 million for Epic’s system.
- Meanwhile, Cerner President Zane Burke told shareholders Friday that “one of our competitors” may be responsible for “fake news” disparaging its work on a Department of Defense project, The Kansas City Star reports.
The conflict-of-interest claims revolve around Impact Advisors, a healthcare IT consulting firm that the University of Illinois-Chicago engaged with starting in 2014 to advise on technology projects and with which Epic also has a history.
Faulkner discounts those concerns, saying Impact Advisors took no part in evaluating either Epic’s or Cerner’s EHR proposals. Rather, the reviews were conducted by 17 “highly respected staff of the UI-C,” the letter says.
The dispute underscores the high stakes involved when health systems decide to upgrade or overhaul their EHR systems. According to the letter, UI-C has used both Epic and Cerner in the past. While contract bids cover new hardware and software, additional costs such as training and maintenance can push overall costs much higher.
In addition to coming in $3 million below Cerner in total costs, industry rating put Epic ahead of Cerner on implementation costs, according to Faulkner. “Approximately 90% of Epic installs come in on time and under budget,” she wrote.
Burke’s "fake news" comments at an annual shareholder meeting came one day after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs signed a $10 billion no-bid contact for the agency’s new EHR system MHS Genesis. The agreement had been stalled over interoperability issues, and there were reports that President Donald Trump’s closest advisers influenced the delay.
The project will replace the VA’s VistA medical records system, which was developed in the early 1980s. Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, who Trump has put up for the agency's top job, has said implementation will be guided by lessons learned from Department of Defense sites, and that capabilities will be added as necessary to meet the special needs of VA providers and veterans.
The project has sparked concerns, however. A recent DoD report claimed MHS Genesis is “neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable” and raised questions about the accuracy of information exchange between the EHR and outside systems.