Epic Program Rollout Hits WF Baptist Finances Hard

Owen Covington | The Business Journal | April 5, 2013

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is likely to finish the fiscal year in the red this summer after a rocky start for a new electronic medical records system.

The rollout of the Epic Systems Corp. electronic medical records system in the second half of 2012 brought millions in unanticipated revenue losses due to business disruptions and lost productivity.

In the second half of 2012 alone, implementation cost the medical center an estimated $47.9 million, far more than the medical center had budgeted for the switch. Those costs contributed to the medical center posting a $33.7 million operating loss in the second quarter that ended Dec. 31.

The bulk of that expense — $26.6 million — has been in lost revenue after patient volumes dropped drastically and remained lower longer as outpatient facilities struggled to make the transition to the new electronic medical records system. The remaining $21.3 million was the direct expense in the first two quarters of putting the electronic medical record system in place, which also ran higher than expected.