Kansas Hospital’s Failed EMR Project Shows Peril of Vendor Relations Gone Bad

Joel Schectman | Wall Street Journal | June 26, 2012

Girard Medical Center, a rural hospital in Kansas which services mainly uninsured patients and the elderly, wanted an electronic medical record system to better share information with its clinic offshoots and to claim federal incentives. But a year-and-a-half and more than a million dollars later, the hospital says it’s no closer to having electronic medical records, and is blaming its vendor for the failure of the project.

Whether the fault for the failed project should rest on the big corporate vendor or the small hospital is unclear. But Girard’s story illustrates the risks for organizations of all kinds when they attempt to innovate by bringing in new, and unfamiliar, technologies and vendors.

The hospital brought in Cerner Corporation in September 2010, one of the biggest vendors of electronic medical records, to provide an all-in-one fix that would allow doctors to prescribe medicines and order tests electronically, and for administrators to fulfill HR functions like tracking time and attendance. But the hospital claims that instead of Cerner “providing one throat to choke,” the company provided “many products to buy,” said Frankie Forbes, an attorney for Girard...