May 15, 2013

Computer flaws added to Maine Med financial loss

A new $150 million centralized database failed to bill patients for some services, which has helped lead to a hiring freeze and cuts.

By Jessica Hall jhall@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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click image to enlarge

Maine Medical Center in Portland on Tuesday May 7, 2013.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

Maine Med bought the system from Epic System Corp. of Wisconsin, which was described as the leading up-and-comer in the electronic medical records industry in a June 2011 report by KLAS Enterprises LLC, a health-care technology market research firm.

"Epic offers integrated clinical, patient financial, and ambulatory solutions with above-average usability and an unmatched track record of successful implementations in hospitals with more than 200 beds," the report said. "Even though they lag behind in technology and are not the cheapest solution available, their ability to integrate systems and show strengths that cater perfectly to the current market trends helped them lure many clients away from competitors last year."

Maine Med has been working with Epic to resolve the problem with SeHR, Harris said. Epic officials declined to comment.

The hospital said the problems occurred during the "build out" phase of the software, which was specialized to suit Maine Med's and MaineHealth's needs. Harris said the problems did not involve training employees on the system.

"Many of the 'charge capture' challenges have been identified and there are teams of individuals from Epic, our own IS (information system) professionals, clinical and financial support personnel that are ... finding solutions to these problems," Petersen said in the letter to employees.

MaineHealth plans to proceed with the rollout once the problems are solved, Harris said.

 

Staff Writer J. Craig Anderson contributed to this report.

 

Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

jhall@pressherald.com

 

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