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Report: Epic Shocked Upon Learning of Cerner/DoD Deal

August 3, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Employees at the Verona, Wis.-based vendor Epic Systems were initially taken aback that it was Cerner Corp. that was granted the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) electronic health record (EHR) contract, according to a report from The Capital Times, a Madison, Wis.-based publication.

“It was very surprising,” said a current Epic employee, who wished to remain anonymous due to the company’s stringent media policies, according to The Capital Times report. “I think we’re just so used to every single contract (going) our way, all the big ones go our way ... everybody thought it would be Epic.”

Indeed, many industry analysts and experts were predicting that the Epic team, with IBM Corp, Impact Advisors and others, would win the bid, but it was Cerner, along with Accenture Federal Services and Leidos that got the call.

Additionally, a former Epic employee said in the report, “Current Epic employees seem very taken aback,” he said. “They seem very surprised and shocked. And then the former Epic employees — I think we’re also surprised but, to a certain extent, (we’ve) sort of seen behind the curtain. (We’ve) seen that the emperor isn’t wearing clothes.”

The current Epic employee said initial disbelief and shock within the halls of the company has quickly given way to acceptance. ”It’s like we’re the Badger football team and a top recruit went to Minnesota, (and you say,) ‘Why would you go to Minnesota? That makes no sense,” and then you take a step back and go, ‘They’re a great football team, too.’”

What’s more, Fran Turisco, a consultant with Aspen Advisors, Part of Chicago-based The Chartis Group, said recently to HCI, “This deal means continued competition between the two biggest EHR vendors. Most deals now involve Cerner-Epic ‘bake-offs. In this case, Cerner has a strong suite of solutions, including OR [operating room] and anesthesia solutions, plus the ‘Cerner room’ and the ‘Cerner cabinet.’ Having that array of solutions might have played into the DoD’s decision here.”

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