Why Might Intermountain Have Chosen Cerner Over Epic?

An anonymous person on HIStalk gave some really interesting insights into Intermountain’s decision to go with Cerner instead of Epic.

Re: Intermountain. The short-term choice (three or so years) would have been Epic, but we went with Cerner because of Epic’s dated technology, Cerner’s openness, and the feeling that we would be more of a partner than a customer with Cerner. The partnership is more than words. We’re working closely with Cerner and their horde of sharp, dedicated people on the implementation. We have some pieces they don’t and those are being built into the Cerner system, while some of our own development efforts have been redirected since Cerner already has that functionality. The first rollout is scheduled for December and I think it will go well due to the way the teams are working together. Unverified.

This is the best analysis of Intermountain’s decision to go with Cerner that I’ve seen. As in every billion dollar procurement decision, it’s always got other nuances and pieces that go into the decision making process. However, the above analysis gives us a good place to start.

Let’s look at the main points that are made:

1. Is Epic technology more dated than Cerner?

2. Is Cerner more open than Epic?

3. Will Cerner be more of a partner than Epic would have been?

I’d love to see Judy’s (Epic CEO’s) comments on all of these. I’m sure she’d have a lot to say about each of them. For example, you may remember that Judy described Epic as the most open system she knows. Ask someone who wants to get Epic certified if they’re open. Ask a health IT vendor that wants to work together if Epic is open. Ask even some of their smaller customers who want to do things with Epic if Epic is open. They’d all likely disagree that Epic is the most open system.

I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on each of these three points. I think it will make for a really lively discussion that will help us get closer to understanding the reality of these assertions.

However, reality aside, I can tell you that the public image of Epic vs Cerner certainly confirms all three of these points. Whether Intermountain indeed used these points as part of their decision process or not, I don’t know. What I do know is that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they did think this way since there are many in the market that believe and share all of the above three impressions.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

1 Comment

  • While I am more familiar with the Epic EHR product/service, I can certainly appreciate Cerner’s top ranking within the EHR market. It would appear that both Cerner and Epic hold the top rankings within the national EHR market.

    As to the “openness” and/or “customization” perspective of either Epic or Cerner, there is the brand name, product, service copy wrights and possible patents to consider when a respective medical client seeks to “customize” said product into their own EHR of sorts.

    I have worked on Epic EHR implementations where the medical client has opted to “customize” Epic beyond the product perimeters. In those cases the facility has renamed the “customized/opened” EHR with their trademark name. I am willing to bet that both Epic and Cerner then renegotiate the terms of their agreement to safe guard against possible future liabilities as it relates to the “customized,opened” documentation process alteration that said medical facility or system implemented.

    Each product/service is designed with particular nuances, perspectives, and focuses as determined by the owner/builder of said product/service. That individuality maintains a competitive market place for consumers. Each consumer can then compare and contrast each product/service to determine which align best with their mindset, methodology and process. Both Cerner and Epic are federally licensed to provide their respective EHR product/service to the national medical consumer. Both appear to be at the top of the EHR list.

    Epic does allow for “customization/openness” but discerns if and when said “customization/openness” contrasts their product/service patent and/or copy wright. This is true with all products/services with copy wrights. Epic’s original product/service meets the required federal, state, and various medical accreditation and licensing stipulations and guidelines. If the medical facility alters Epic’s EHR product beyond the point of copy wright,Epic still supports the EHR structure and training, but I am willing to bet that said medical facility is asked to personalize the name of their EHR product/service and accept responsibility for their “customizations/openness” alterations that run counter to the Epic’s original model and prescribed documentation practices.

    If the surgeon prescribes specific proven post surgery medications and rehabilitation and the patient deliberately declines or alters the doctor’s orders the surgeon responsibility and liability end with the actual surgical procedure. The recovery outcome is then the responsibility of the patient.

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