Healthcare News & Insights

Kansas hospital spent $1.2 million on failed EHR installation

Installing an EHR system is a big undertaking – and if it’s not done properly, it can result in a lot of wasted time and money, as one hospital recently learned. 

Like many healthcare organizations, Girard Medical Center in Kansas recently started a project to install an electronic health record (EHR) system. But after a year and a half of work and $1.2 million already spent, Girard still doesn’t have a working EHR system and hasn’t been able to claim any federal incentive payments.

What’s to blame for the failed project? Girard claims its vendor, Cerner, is at fault for the botched implementation and has filed a lawsuit against the software provider to recover the lost money, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Officials at the 25-bed rural hospital say they agreed to a $2.9 million price tag for the project, but that the price kept increasing as they found out more and more features weren’t included in the base price. For example, they claim Cerner originally told the hospital that the price would include features such as attendence tracking, lab test functions and electronic billing, but then later decided to charge extra for those. Then, the hospital claims, Cerner abandoned the project after they complained.

According to the lawsuit, the contract was complex and difficult for hospital management to understand, so they relied on Cerner’s explanation for what the terms meant.

Many hospitals are installing EHR systems to try and get some of the incentive funding that’s being handed out by the federal government. But experts warn organizations need to do their due diligence and make sure their own staff has enough knowledge about health IT to make the right decisions. As this situation shows, moving forward with a project without that knowledge can be dangerous.

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