UW Medicine approves $180M plan to implement single EHR platform

The University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine will begin a complete overhaul of its electronic health record (EHR) system—and it’s not going to be cheap. The school’s finance committee approved $180 million to replace existing Cerner and Epic systems with a single integrated platform.

“UW Medicine clinicians document clinical care across a mosaic of systems,” according to university’s project plan. Specifically, there are numerous medical record systems which clinicians and support teams must access every time care is provided to a patient. The Clinical Transformation Project (CT) will reduce the number of systems and create workflows and efficiencies that will simplify and standardize work across the care continuum for years to come.

The project, which will put UW’s eight facilities onto a single EHR system, is scheduled to take 30 months. Of the total cost, $159.5 million will be allocated to direct project costs and another $20.8 million will address site-specific costs, including staff training. The university estimates project costs will be primarily labor (67 percent), along with software and vendor services (both 12 percent).

“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,” according to university documents. “IT estimates significant savings in the licensing and subscription costs, and in the cost incurred to support the proliferation of systems across UW Medicine.”