A physician correspondent at Kaiser, and someone whose judgment I trust, had an alternative view:
I want you to know that the Epic product for KP, HealthConnect, is a fully integrated and very highly functional software that interfaces with Pharmacy, Inpatient & Outpatient records, imaging, lab..............it's unbelievably useful. Not absolutely perfect, but really extraordinary nevertheless. I personally can research referrals with an ability to track diagnostic images, consults, labs, professional notes including progress notes all on one platform. It has been rolled out to most of the Northern California region where we serve well over 3 Million people, and there is nothing that competes with its usefulness. The down time quoted is a gross exaggeration. It has helped me enormously provide fast, accurate decisions in settings in which, in the old work, I would have otherwise wasted precious time getting the right, important information.This does not address all the issues in our previous posts, but at least makes clear that there was some reasonable rationale for trying to adapt the system to the Kaiser setting.
The KP CIS system to which some reference was made by JD is to Epic as the Conestoga wagon was to a Ferrari. The fact that he thinks it was a satisfactory system either reflects a lack of understanding or a willful blindness to the needs of clinicians. Furthermore, KP is a nonprofit in the best sense of the word - its margin is used to build new hospitals as mandated by State law to make hospitals earthquake safe and to improve care by doing things like rolling out KP HealthConnect [the Epic product]. These are spectacularly expensive projects in the best of all possible worlds, and are intended to provide advances in improving access to care for vulnerable patients.
I would also note that Kaiser has a reputation as one of the best managed care organizations, and one that has remained not-for-profit and generally tried to maintain its focus on its primary mission. It's goood to see that Kaiser physicians are continuing to adhere to its traditions. We will stay tuned to see what turns out about the other issues raised about Kaiser's expensive EMR project.