Two Experiences with Failed EHR Implementations

Posted on March 16, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

A reader recently sent me a couple personal stories about EHR implementations that I thought worth sharing. I’m not going to say that these are the typical implementations, but I will say that I’ve heard stories like this far too often to ignore. I’ve removed any identifying information about the people, practice or EHR company. This really isn’t about one company, because you could insert any number of names and get the same story. Also, excuse any bad grammar since they didn’t intend it to be posted here, but have given me permission to post it.

Thanks to the reader who sent it to me.

Son-in-law is a family medicine practitioner in a 5 doc group. Wife is a CFNP MSN in an EP Cardiology group. Both here in [CITY REMOVED]. Spouse’s group elected [EHR Vendor] about 2 years ago… at last count of the 12 cardiologists in the group… only 2 were still on board with the program. At least half the problems they have may be due to their unqualified IT plumber who can’t keep their servers running … and when running only at half speed. Typically, they bought the basic package with minor training … someone in their sales contingent also convinced the owning docs that their nurse clinicians could do all the local programming needs … although warned them that if the nurses broke the code … it was their fault. As a result the nurses will not touch anything. [EHR Vendor] (and the local architecture) can’t keep pace with their clinic schedules… wife and the 2 remaining docs who use the EHR spend hours at night and on the weekend doing their record updates because there is no way to do it during the clinic day.

Son-in-law’s group which is owned indirectly via [COMPANY NAME REMOVED] by the [REMOVED] Health System also picked [SAME EHR VENDOR] without consulting any of the docs at any location anywhere in [STATE REMOVED]. His group… one of the biggest revenue wise in the system was chosen as first by the [COMPANY NAME] brains for implementation. Training was provided by 1 [COMPANY NAME] administrator to the ~5 or so admin and business staff … as they were only implementing the business end of the EHR … not the patient record subsystem at this time. On day one… the 5 docs saw a total of 4 patients the first 4 hours they were Hot. With typically 6 patients an hour scheduled … times 5 docs … equals 30 per hour total x 4 hours … equals 120 patients … so 4/120 isn’t even on the chart for failure. They had dozens of patients walk out. Docs were all sitting idle in their offices … and the [COMPANY NAME] administrator and their site manager were pissed at the docs … but the docs just shrugged and said… “we’re here… where are the patients?”. Problem of course was up front where none of the records and pt data was loaded ahead of time so it was like they were all in a brand new practice.

I’ll just let you chew on this one for a little while.