Banner Health goes for one EHR for all

Banner Health goes for one EHR for all

Migration of two acquired hospitals from Epic to Cerner slated for 2018

It may seem counter-intuitive to pull the plug on a new and expensive – reportedly $115 million – EHR system that was recently rolled out at two hospitals in favor of another brand.

But that’s exactly what Banner Health has decided to do in the case of the two hospitals they recently acquired from the University of Arizona.

Banner, a 28-hospital integrated healthcare system with a Cerner EHR, will by 2018 migrate the two UA hospitals from their Epic EHRs to the Cerner platform.

To Banner Health executives, it makes perfect sense. As they figure it, the move will, in the end, save them money. But most important it will ensure better quality of care, said Banner Chief Information Officer Ryan Smith.

“There’s significant cost savings by consolidating these two systems down to our single system,” Smith said. “Even taking into account the sizable investment that the former organization had made in that Epic environment, the structure of our relationship with Cerner is actually very cost effective for us to make this migration.”

He pointed out there would be significant operating cost around system support and disparate staff to support a system like that’s different from what the rest of the organization is using.

“From the cost side of the equation, it makes really good business sense for us to do this migration,” he said.

Having all hospitals on the same EHR will also benefit a key component of Banner Health’s approach to care, he added.

“Part of our operating success really entails driving as much standardization as possible to operate most efficiently, safely with the highest quality possible,” Smith explained. “You can’t do that if you’re doing things in a lot of different ways across your various care sites.”

Over the years, he says, Banner has devoted a lot of time and attention to standardizing care.

“In essence, our whole IT organization is built around support of a highly centralized, highly consolidated, highly integrated business and clinical operations of the company,” he says. “And, therein really lies the answer to why we really wanted integrated electronic health record systems.”

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