'Irregularities' in Coast Guard EHR deployment led to termination of Epic contract

The Coast Guard's troubled rollout of its electronic health record system caused it to choose not to renew its contract with Epic and to revert to paper records last fall, according to an article by Politico.

The article sheds new light on the problems faced in deploying the system, which disrupted care for 50,000 troops, civilian members and their families. The Coast Guard tried to return to its old EHR but was unable to do so.

The Coast Guard had uncovered "irregularities" which led it to terminate the contract, Lieutenant Commander Dave French, the Coast Guard's chief of media relations, told Healthcare IT News.

The Coast Guard had awarded the contract to Epic in 2010, and later expanded the project, called the Integrated Health Information System (IHiS) to support healthcare for multiple organizations, including the State Department. That expansion turned out to be problematic.

"In 2015 the Coast Guard determined there were significant risks associated with continuing the IHiS project and decided not to exercise further contract options," French told Healthcare IT News. "The decision was driven by concerns about the project's ability to deliver a viable product in a reasonable period of time and at a reasonable cost. As a result of the analysis that led to the discontinuation of the project, various irregularities were uncovered, which are currently being reviewed."

An Institute of Medicine report released in 2014 regarding the Department of Homeland Security's use of EHRs specifically pointed to the Coast Guard's continued delays and challenges with implementation of its IHiS, noting that the experience should be used to "identify lessons learned." The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security.

To learn more:
- here's the Politico Morning eHealth post
- read the Healthcare IT News article