New York City Health + Hospitals announced that it has successfully completed the first stage of a migration to a new electronic medical records system at Elmhurst and Queens hospitals, the first two of its 11 hospitals expected to make the transition.

The $764 million deployment of the new Epic Systems EMR has been more than two years in the making. Along the way, it was the subject of an internal investigation by the public hospital network’s own inspector general over concerns of improper billing, and several high-ranking IT officials connected with the project were forced to resign. There were also public accusations by the recently departed chief medical information officer for two of NYC H+H’s 11 hospital centers that the new system was launching prematurely at patients’ expense.

Elmhurst Hospital
Elmhurst Hospital

But this past Saturday, the first phase of the cutover went live as planned, according to NYC H+H, affecting more than 700 inpatients at the two hospitals.

“This was an immense undertaking involving more than 8,000 users, 17 different Epic modules and 36 ancillary systems, including labs, blood bank, radiology and more,” NYC H+H said in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the situation very closely . . . and look forward to the benefits the new system will provide to our patients.”

The health system is replacing a home-grown QuadraMed EHR over a 6-year period. The older system has been in place for more than 20 years, and some of its functions are no longer sufficient for the current demands of the healthcare industry. For example, NYC H+H serves the mental health needs of nearly 40 percent of New York City's 8 million residents, and QuadraMed cannot support electronic records for behavioral or mental health, which currently remain on paper.

The Epic Systems’ EMR suite holds the medical records of 54 percent of all medical patients in the U.S. and is widely used by healthcare organizations within the tri-state area, including Mount Sinai Health System, New York University Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center and Yale-New Haven Hospital. When its deployment is completed in 2018, NYC H+H says it will be the largest public hospital Epic implementation in the country.

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