Epic EHR adds to UK hospital's financial mess

CEO, CFO step down amid financial mess at NHS hospitals
By Bernie Monegain
10:36 AM
Addenbrooke's Hospital

The rollout of a $300M Epic EHR implementation at Cambridge University Hospitals in the UK is making a bad financial situation worse, according to news reports from across the pond.

Both CEO Keith M. McNeil and CFO Paul James of Cambridge have resigned, and the finances are under investigation.

"This is the first Epic EMR implementation in the UK and the resignations come amid increasing scrutiny of Cambridge's deteriorating financial condition," financial services firm Robert W. Baird wrote in a September 21 note to investors. "Several other UK hospitals intend to install Epic, but Papworth Hospital recently concluded Epic did not provide the best value." 

The EHR implementation, however, is not the only factor in the hospital's financial mess. 

BBC News quotes Daniel Zeichner, Labour MP for Cambridge, as saying: "The introduction of the new computer system was troubled and difficult and I suspect that's contributed to their problems, but I think the basic responsibility for this is the [financial] pressure that's been put on the National Health Service by the government. The Conservatives promised extra for the health service - we haven't seen it."

[See also: HP supports UK hospital's IT revolution and New infrastructure, systems to be top IT priority for NHS in 2013.]

The Cambridge News reported that an investigation concluded the trust "lacks the adequate financial control it requires" and has "failed to deliver the necessary savings." And the report noted the trust underestimated the scale and challenges" of implementing its new $300 million electronic patient record system, dubbed eHospital, and the impact this would have on its provision of healthcare for its patients which led to "significant cost increases," according to the Cambridge News.

Back in 2012, when NHS awarded Epic the contract for the EHR work, U.S. EHR company Cerner, a competitor for the work questioned why the award went to Epic.