Here’s a piece from veteran SF Business Times health care reporter Chris Rauber on the Kaiser saga. I still basically stay where I was, but it’s worth noting that the presumed reason that Cliff Dodd resigned on such short notice (i.e. was canned) is not because HealthConnect (Epic) doesn’t work—it’s because the story that he was a director of the consulting company paid $1m in fees by KP while he was CIO is presumably true! That’s such a visible conflict of interest, it’s bizarre that he and the rest of the board thought they could get away with it. So I suspect that he never told them and no one bothered to ask until Justen Deal dug it out of various filings. Of course you may have your own opinions. I also just noticed that Dodd’s sole academic qualifications were that he has a BA in Sociology. I’ve got one of those (well, sort of)—perhaps they should give me the job!
However, there is no evidence that any other major EMR system works better than Epic, or is written on a more sophisticated, more modern code than MUMPS. The only real competitor in existence when the decision was made was Cerner’s Millenium—not known for its drop dead gorgeous implementations, and lacking an outpatient function at that time. The others, Soarian (Siemens), Eclipsys, McKesson did not have proven ambulatory and in-patient systems.
Why didn’t KP just buy Epic, as has been suggested? Perhaps you should ask the folks at Phillips about how easy Judy is to work with, and how willing she is to sell.
While we can all snipe from the sidelines, there is no question that getting clinicians to use process automation software of any type is really, really, hard. So I’m not surprised that this isn’t all smooth sailing.
Finally, the real scandal at Kaiser this year has not been about the IT system, or even about the pecadillos of various Kaiser executives. The real scandal has been the opaqueness of the management of the kidney transplant program’s collapse, even though that’s stayed out of the national press (beyond the LA Times and Chris Rauber’s work).
At a meeting about PR for blogging that I spoke about, Kaiser’s new press rep (didn’t catch her name) said that they were going to behave differently in the future. At least Halvorson wrote an email about this latest brou-ha-ha. We heard zip from him or TPMG about the kidney scandal.