Intermountain, UPMC switching from Oracle Health's Cerner EHR to Epic enterprisewide

Intermountain Healthcare, a health system that operates 33 hospitals across seven western states, is transitioning from Oracle Health's Cerner electronic health record to rival Epic, citing higher physician satisfaction scores as one key factor.

In a statement to Fierce Healthcare Friday, the health system, which also operates close to 400 clinics, said it was moving to a single EHR across the organization by the end of 2025.

"This decision was made with input from thousands of physicians, Advanced Practice Providers (APPs), nurses and EHR users from across the organization, and is in support of Intermountain’s efforts to prioritize the caregiver and patient experience and to simplify work," an Intermountain Healthcare spokesman said in a statement provided to Fierce.

"Epic will be the single EHR for the organization due to strong functional offerings and significantly higher physician and APP EHR satisfaction scores," the spokesman said.

Pittsburgh-based UPMC, which operates 40 hospitals and 800 outpatient sites, also plans to consolidate nine EHRs to one system, operated by Epic, by mid-2026. The massive consolidation will transfer some 6 million patient medical records to a single digital recordkeeping system and will involve 600 information technology technicians and as many as 1,200 doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other clinicians, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Sept. 6.

The health system has been using Oracle Cerner on the inpatient side and Epic for ambulatory care. UPMC is a $26 billion healthcare and insurance giant that employs more than 5,000 doctors.

"This is all about the patient experience and the patient-doctor relationship and removing any barriers from that relationship," said UPMC Chief Information Officer Ed McCallister in a statement provided to Fierce Healthcare.

The unified Epic digital platform will provide quick access to the patient’s entire medical record, executives told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"This is a technology-enabled clinical and operational transformation," Rob Bart, M.D., UPMC's chief medical information officer, said in a statement.

Oracle Health could not be reached for comment at time of publication of this story.

Oracle bought Cerner for $28 billion in June 2022 to push deeper into the healthcare market, and the database giant is betting big that the acquisition will help scale up its cloud business.

But, Oracle Cerner customers in the healthcare industry continue to have reservations about the future of the EHR company, citing the lack of a concrete road map, according to a March report from KLAS Research. Analysts at KLAS Research have spoken with Oracle Cerner customers in the past year and found that CIOs are concerned about the company's vision.

"In March 2022, respondents were generally more optimistic about Oracle Health being a long-term partner. That optimism has dropped over the course of the year, and in November, about one-fourth of respondents reported they no longer see the vendor as a viable long-term partner. Large organizations (1,000+ beds) most commonly switched opinions; many who were previously on the fence now report that Oracle Health is no longer part of their long-term plans, saying there has been very little meaningful communication about RevElate and that they can’t keep waiting for the vendor to deliver," KLAS Research analysts wrote in the report.

Intermountain and UPMC's decision to transition to Epic follows several other big health systems switching from Oracle Health to the Verona, Wisconsin-based EHR giant. Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare and Houston-based Memorial Hermann also recently transitioned from Oracle Health to Epic.

According to a KLAS Research report analyzing the EHR market released in May, Epic grew its hospital EHR market share to 35.9% compared to Oracle Health's 24.9% market share. Epic "maintained their position as the top choice for large organizations," KLAS Research analysts wrote.

"Epic’s footprint is the largest in the country—they cover nearly half of all acute care beds in the US, and their customers include most of the largest, well-resourced academic medical centers in the US," analysts wrote.

Oracle Health’s hospital gains in 2022 were driven primarily by small standalone hospitals opting for the CommunityWorks platform. "Oracle Health still saw a significant overall decline in beds, the most of any vendor in this report. Due to ongoing revenue cycle challenges, larger Oracle Health customers are leaving," KLAS Research analysts wrote. 

Oracle Health continues to have the largest global EHR market share.

The company has been losing market share to Epic in the U.S. hospital market for a number of years, noted John Moore III, managing partner at Chilmark Research, and Cerner's major $10 billion contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs "took up a lot of bandwidth and got in the way of a lot of former customer relationships, largely due to the amount of energy and time that the project was taking," he noted.

"I think that the Oracle acquisition just created some additional uncertainty. You're never entirely sure what's going to shake out from that and that transition period can be kind of tough on the clients as they're going through it," he said. "I think that these larger organizations who have probably experienced that before, because their CTOs and CIOs that have generally a lot of experience with these large enterprise implementations, I'm guessing they're just getting a little bit frustrated having to wait for some of the features that they've been promised."

Intermountain, based in Salt Lake City, said it received feedback from "thousands of physicians, APPs, nurses and clinicians who agree a single EHR is in the best interest of the organization, caregivers and patients," the spokesperson said.

Intermountain needs an aligned EHR solution that enables clinicians and caregivers to coordinate care across facilities and provide the best possible care to patients, according to the health system. The existing Cerner contract, which supports the current EHR at Intermountain’s Utah facilities, is coming to an end in November. 

Epic is currently used by Intermountain facilities in Colorado and Montana. Moving to a single EHR platform will help achieve significant cost savings over time, the spokesman said.

"We have an urgent need to find an EHR solution that can best support operations in Idaho and Nevada, where our legacy EHR solutions are antiquated and in need of replacement. Our finance team completed a detailed review of our annual EHR operating costs, and moving to a single platform will help us achieve significant cost savings over time," according to an email Intermountain Health sent to its employees that was posted to Reddit.

Intermountain is sunsetting EHR contracts with other EHR vendors, including Cerner and Allscripts, according to the email posted on Reddit.