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Epic Competitor Cerner Wins $33M Contract with Wisconsin DHS

Cerner recently scored a $33-million contract in Epic’s home state of Wisconsin with the state’s top health agency.

Cerner EHR

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has chosen Epic Systems competitor Cerner Corporation for a $33-million contract to provide its EHR system.

Cerner recently signed the ten-year contract to provide an electronic health data storage and exchange system for the department’s seven care and treatment facilities.

While Epic’s headquarters is located in Verona, Wisconsin, the EHR company did not enter the running as one of the five bidders to submit proposals for the project, confirmed DHS spokeswoman Jennifer Miller.

UPDATE: Epic issued the following statement to EHRIntelligence.com:

“Epic chose not to participate in the Wisconsin Department of Health Services selection process given the smaller size and scope of this particular project," stated Epic Spokesperson Meghan Roh. "Over 90 percent of Wisconsinites have a record in Epic and we look forward to our continued partnership with health systems across the Badger State.”

The contract covers health records for Central Wisconsin Center and Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison. Additionally, Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, Southern Wisconsin Center, Northern Wisconsin Center, Chippewa Falls, Winnebago Mental Health Institute, and the Wisconsin Resource Center will all implement Cerner technology as part of the project.

 “This is an investment in more coordinated, efficient services,” DHS Secretary Linda Seemeyer told a local Wisconsin news source. “This system is designed to enhance the health and safety of patients and residents and improve staff productivity.”

According to Miller, this Cerner implementation marks the first time Wisconsin’s state-operated mental health treatment facilities will benefit from a coordinated EHR system.

“Currently, they create and maintain paper records that are supplemented with various facility-specific electronic applications,” stated Miller.

Winnebago Mental Health Institute will be the first facility to launch the new system in 2018.

The remaining six facilities implementing Cerner technology as part of the contract will go live in phases, and all facilities are expected to be successfully online with the system by the close of 2019.

The $33 million allotted for the implementation process were approved as part of the state’s 2013-2015 biennial budget.

Cerner signed the contract after program area experts spent months at the local healthcare facilities and DHS headquarters identifying requirements for the EHR system.

A request for proposals was issued to potentially interested EHR companies at this time last year with a submission deadline set for October of 2016.

Three product demonstrations were held in December of last year, and DHS began contract negotiations with Cerner in February of 2017.

Cerner also recently snagged a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide the federal agency’s commercial EHR system.

VA chose to implement Cerner technology in an effort to foster interoperability between VA and the Department of Defense (DoD).

DoD’s Military Health System (MHS) Genesis similarly utilizes a Cerner platform. Aligning DoD and VA technology will mitigate past challenges with patient health data exchange between the two departments.

The decision to select Cerner for the federal agency’s long-awaited commercial EHR replacement was based on internal and external feedback aggregated over months of deliberation.

Despite the VA decision to choose Cerner for a replacement EHR system, Epic maintained its $624 million contract with the federal agency to develop an online scheduling system.

Epic won the contract in 2015. The project is expected to take about five years.

 “There is no connection to appointment scheduling, etc. and we expect no changes resulting from the new EHR contract,” VA spokesman Randal Noller told a local news source.

Epic won the contract to develop the scheduling system with Systems Made Simple, which has since been acquired by Leidos.

Epic has been developing a pilot project on the medical appointment software since February of 2017. The initial results from the pilot program are expected to be released in approximately 18 months. 

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