Vanderbilt attributes lower operating income to EHR install

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is blaming a decline in operating income on its shift to an enterprise-wide Epic electronic medical record system.

The Nashville, Tenn.-based healthcare provider largely attributes the decline in its operating income for its most recent fiscal year on its implementation in November 2017 of the new EMR system.

“Our FY18 June YTD actual operating income of $56 million compares unfavorably to FY18 June YTD budgeted operating income of $91 million,” states a VUMC disclosure report. “FY18 June YTD actual operating income is $122 million below FY17 June YTD operating income.”

VUMC went live in November 2017 with the integrated clinical, administrative and billing infrastructure, which is comprised of 25 different Epic modules covering every facet of the health system’s operations.

“For fiscal year 2018, Vanderbilt University Medical Center experienced increased revenues that were offset by foreseen and planned for reductions to operating income due to the implementation of a new enterprise-wide EMR system,” said John Howser, VUMC’s chief communications officer, in a written statement.

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Vanderbilt Medical Center Campus photos, summer 2014 ( Daniel Dubois / Vanderbilt University)

Also See: Vanderbilt execs say system is ready for transition to Epic platform

According to VUMC’s disclosure report, increased operating expenses related to installation of the Epic system caused a reduction in operating income.

“The EMR implementation put pressure on clinical volumes in the post-live period. Although we have achieved net patient services revenue in excess of our budget, the implementation has muted procedural volumes,” states the report. “We continue to monitor volumes and net patient services receivable balances during the post-implementation period.”

“Implementation of the new EMR system represents the largest organizational change the medical center has undertaken to date,” added Howser. “Expenses for the new system and its rollout were budgeted for during FY18. As with any process involving large-scale implementation of new information technology, after this initial period of adoption the system’s robust capabilities are beginning to yield additional efficiencies. We anticipate this trend will continue.”

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