Did Epic Kiss Off A California Customer (And Try to Get Its CIO Fired)?

If Cerner, Siemens, GE, McKesson or Allscripts have ever tried the following, I’ve never heard about it. So before you complain that we’re turning this site into the “I Hate Epic Weekly,” consider the following. You tell me whether things are getting strange at Epic, at least if the following is true.

So, your editor was quietly, non-aggressively, not shotgunning for any vendor anywhere when I reviewed the search logs for this site yesterday. As I scanned the list of terms, I find “epic dumps california hospital” on the list.  Hmmm, I tell myself, maybe there’s a contract dispute involved? Why else would there be a nasty breakup? Why else would a vendor turn down a multi-million dollar contract?

Here, I’m going to do something I rarely do, which is to quote a large section of a post from the justifiably famous HIStalk.com rumor mill:

From Mavrikg41“Re: Epic. [hospital name omitted] was rejected by Epic in the evaluation process because Epic thought [CIO name omitted] was ‘going to get in the way of the success of the implementation.’ They called that out in the report to the hospital’s executives as to why Epic would not be a good fit at [hospital name omitted].”

Mr. HIStalk, who calls the rumor “unverified,” nonetheless seems pretty exercised — and seems to think the story may be true. His words:  “It’s a vendor low blow to call out an hospital executive by name to his or her peers as an excuse for turning down their dozens of millions of dollars. Unless Epic is trying to get the CIO fired, why not just politely decline the business without naming names?”

And more from Mr. HIStalk: “Once the Epic train gets rolling in a given hospital, you don’t want to get in front of it since frontline executives seem happy let Epic 20-somethings tell them how to run their business (especially the IT part) instead of listening to their own vastly more experienced people.

I wish I thought this story was unlikely, but I don’t. It just makes too much sense. Senior execs are scared out of their wits by new technology, and doubtless prefer buying their advice from the Dogbert Consulting Company, i.e. Epic’s army of occupation.

By the way, if you look at employee stories from inside Epic , it becomes pretty clear who that hospital CIO was dealing with — mind-bogglingly competitive, relentless Type-A personalities, often proving themselves on their first real career assignment, inspired to push through bruising 70-hour workweeks by convincing themselves that they’re masters of the universe. Sound familiar?

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • Wow.

    My question is, how does EPIC survive as a company that is run for the most part by people in their 20s???

  • […] In my experience, users uniformly say that Epic’s interface is all but broken, that it’s hard to adapt and in some cases, that the 20-something young geniuses the company sends to install and service its systems aren’t particularly deferential. (If you want to hear a particularly galling tale — downright terrifying, if true — check out the tale of one engagement in which Epic staffers seemingly tried to get a hospital CIO fired.) […]

  • i like this article. As much as I like Epic product/tram it is usually is their way or the highway. I do believe their youthfulness and clinical inexperience hurts them. They must rely on the facilities implementing them, facility gives clear guidance to them and facility team stand up to what they want and stick to it.

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