US hospital takes legal action against Cerner - why it matters to the NHS

Tony Collins | Computerworld UK | June 29, 2012

Small Kansas hospital in legal action against e-patient record supplier Cerner

Joel Schectman, a reporter at the Wall Street Journal, has researched the case of a small hospital in Kansas that is blaming Cerner for the failure of an electronic medical records project. Cerner is one of the world's largest suppliers of e-record systems. In the UK Cerner is supplied by BT under the National Programme for IT [NPfIT]. It also supplies NHS trusts directly.

The Girard Medical Center is a small rural hospital that takes in mainly uninsured patients and the elderly. Its executives wanted an electronic medical record system to improve the sharing of information with its clinic offshoots and to claim federal incentives. But, says the Wall Street Journal, Girard spent 18 months and more than $1m without being closer to having electronic medical records. It is blaming its supplier Cerner for the failure.

"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 organisations of all kinds when they attempt to innovate by bringing in new, and unfamiliar, technologies and vendors," says the paper...

Open Health News' Take: 

Based on Medsphere's and DSS' track record, had Girard Medical Center hired either company to implement VistA instead, it would most likely be up and running today with minimal fuss, on budget, and most likely collecting Meaningful Use reimbursements. Their lawsuit against Cerner may be one of many to come as hundreds of hospitals in the United States are currently going out of business due to the excessive cost of proprietary EHR implementations.

[Update 7/9/2012] Readers of this article should also take a look at these two articles: 

Gold Coast Medical Records System by Cerner 'Inadequate & Dangerous'

Queensland Health Accused of Bias Towards IT Supplier Cerner Corporation [Australia]

Roger A. Maduro, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Open Health News.