UW Medicine to implement single EHR platform

Today the University of Washington Finance and Asset Management Committee approved the UW Medicine Clinical Transformation project.

The project will implement a single electronic health record (EHR) solution across the eight entities that make up UW Medicine: UW Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital, Valley Medical Center, UW Physicians, Airlift NW, UW Neighborhood Clinics and the UW School of Medicine.

According to the project description in meeting documents:

In 2003, UW Medicine implemented Cerner Millennium for the inpatient electronic health record (EHR) for UWMC and HMC. The EHR in use at NWH is Cerner Soarian and the contract for Soarian ends June 30, 2020. Across all UW Medicine entities, Epic is the outpatient EHR as well as our registration, scheduling, and billing system.

Moving to a single outpatient/inpatient EHR will not only mitigate the risk related to the end of the Soarian contract at NWH, it will allow for UW Medicine to sunset more than 70 other ancillary systems that are currently in use across the enterprise. IT estimates significant savings in the licensing and subscription costs, and in the cost incurred to support the proliferation of systems across UW Medicine.

The project timeline is 30 months, with the first go-live in 21 months and a second go-live six months later if needed.

The project will cost an estimated $180 million with $159.5 million in direct project costs. The project has estimated cost savings of $191 million through FY 2027, with $131 million in IT “hard costs” savings and the remaining $60 million in “soft cost” efficiencies. Positive cash flow is expected after full implementation in FY 2022.

Meeting documents list the benefits of the project as:

  • Allowing increased time for clinicians to spend with patients
  • Developing standards of care across UW Medicine
  • Streamlining documentation
  • Providing a continuum of care across the system
  • Improving revenue cycle
  • Simplifying and standardizing across operations and IT
  • Optimizing resource utilization

The kick-off of the project is scheduled for July 13. An EHR vendor was not named in the meeting documents.