Top EHR Implementations of 2020, So Far

From remote, virtual EHR implementations, to giant health systems transitioning away to other EHR vendors, 2020 has sparked a bevy of major EHR implementations.

When the novel coronavirus began its spread across the United States, it transformed healthcare in its entirety. That includes the health IT sector, where EHR vendors had to brainstorm and develop new EHR implementation ideas.

As a result, a number of remote, virtual EHR implementations launched, while another occurred at a pop-up hospital in the heart of New York City.

Meanwhile, in pre-pandemic days, wave of hospitals migrating away from certain revenue cycle products instigated large-scale EHR replacement projects. These stories represented some of the first transitions across EHR products wielding significant marketshare.

Although these are not all of the EHR implementations of 2020, these are some of the larger and most creative launches that’ll forever influence the industry. EHRIntelligence has listed these implementations in chronological order.


AdventHealth, a Florida-based health system and one of the nation’s largest faith-based health systems, will gradually transition away from Cerner and it will implement Epic Systems EHR across its 50 hospital campuses and 1,200-plus care sites that range over nine states. AdventHealth, expects the project will be completed within three years.

The health system did not comment on whether the full Epic transition was due to its issues with the Cerner revenue cycle management platform. However, the revenue cycle tool does have a history of underperforming for health systems.

The Epic implementation will allow the giant health system to be on a single, integrated platform. This platform will include its EHR and a revenue cycle management system that covers its acute care, physician practice, ambulatory, urgent care, home health, and hospice facilities.

“Our journey to become a consumer-focused clinical company requires a fully connected network throughout our entire enterprise,” Terry Shaw, president and CEO at AdventHealth, said at the time of the announcement.

“Connecting our network with a robust, integrated health record platform will give our caregivers access to the clinical information they need at the point of care and ultimately advance our consumer promises through a more seamless experience for those we serve.”

Atrium Health

Similar to AdventHealth, Atrium Health announced it would also pivot away from Cerner to implement Epic Systems EHR across its roughly 900 care locations and 40 hospitals.

This move will allow Atrium to integrate with its Navicent Health locations in Georgia, while its sites in the Carolinas have already implemented Epic’s revenue cycle platform.

With Atrium Health spanning over three states, the health system said this implementation allows it to be on a single, integrated platform, that aims to increase clinician efficiency and satisfaction.

As of now, Atrium Health locations across the Carolinas and Georgia utilize a variety of EHR systems.

Atrium expects implementation at a Georgia location to begin in 2021, with the rest expected to launch throughout 2023.

The New York Department of Health’s COVID-19 Satellite Hospital

The outbreak of the coronavirus pushed health systems nationwide to the limit of their capacities. As a result, the New York Department of Health and NYC Health + Hospitals implemented Epic Systems EHR to increase interoperability and patient data access at Manhattan’s Javits Center during the initial spread of COVID-19.

Due to the overcrowding of health facilities in the New York City area, the New York Department of Health and NYC Health + Hospitals transformed Javits Center into a 1,000-bed hospital for COVID-19 patients.

“Epic has a long history of working with New York and its hospital systems during a crisis—from keeping critical systems available during 9/11, to capacity management and moving patients between sites during Hurricane Sandy,” Epic Vice President of Client Success, Eric Helsher, said at the time.

Once settled, clinicians would check the EHR network to find the patient’s health record. If the health record was found, it would be available to view and access across the EHR interface.

While New York health systems worked to staff the hospital properly, Epic worked with NYC Health + Hospitals to set up the EHR system and remotely train the staff.

Epic provided COVID-19 assistance at no cost.

Macon Community Hospital

COVID-19 threw its share of curveballs to EHR vendors and its customers throughout the pandemic. In late March, Cerner launched its first virtual EHR implementation at Macon Community Hospital, a rural 25-bed critical access hospital in Tennessee. This novel implementation may not have been remarkable in scope, but rather in that the hospital did it virtually.

When the pandemic began to spread, the staff at Macon Community Hospital wanted to transition to the Cerner EHR platform due to its added COVID-19 benefits and experience with smaller health facilities.

The COVID-19 travel bans made it challenging to do a traditional implementation, which typically requires numerous EHR vendor support staff to be on-site in the hospital. This standard implementation was not possible during the pandemic.

“They wanted to postpone and we said that's not possible,” Scott Tongate, chief financial officer at Macon Community Hospital, said in an interview with EHRIntelligence. “They came back with the option of the virtual go-live. Because of the coronavirus, we still had to go live even if we weren’t able to have Cerner’s in-person support.”

According to the vendor, despite the lack of in-person support staff at the hospital, the implementation went live without an issue. Due to reduced patient intake in anticipation of the COVID-19 surge, clinicians at the hospital could train and get acclimated to the new EHR system.

“We didn't have Cerner’s team sitting right here, but they did a great job of providing us with a roadmap on training and testing,” Tongate said. “We really stuck to the training and testing requirements that they laid out, so when we went live, we did not run into technical issues that we ran into in past go-lives.”

Valley Children’s Healthcare

Following Cerner’s virtual implementation, Epic Systems launched its own remote implementation. In May, Valley Children’s Healthcare, which provides care for over 1.4 million children in the Madera County area of California, completed Epic’s first-ever remote, virtual EHR implementation.

Not only was the entire go-live process conducted remotely, but Epic and Optimum Healthcare, a staffing and consulting services firm, teamed up to migrate seven different EHR platforms into one Epic EHR platform.

This is the first time a third-party engineered a 100 percent virtual go-live. Optimum utilized 20-plus analysts and provided executive oversight to help Valley Children’s IT team execute the transition.

“I have been involved in many go-lives over the years, but this one ran smoothly as any that I have seen,” Kevin Shimamoto, vice president and chief information officer at Valley Children’s Healthcare, said at the time. “The remote training and go-live model used allowed us to stay focused on the COVID-19 pandemic while Optimum ensured our go-live ran uninterrupted.”

Before the official go-live, Valley Children’s EHR users participated in webinars, virtual support chat rooms, and one-on-one virtual sessions to prepare. Telehealth solutions were also implemented into the EHR to limit COVID-19 contact.

Despite the lack of in-person support staff at the hospital, the implementation went live without an issue and it went on as if the vendors were on-site, both Epic and Valley Children’s Healthcare maintained.

University Health System

After Epic’s initial remote, virtual implementation with Valley Children’s Healthcare, the vendor giant conducted a virtual $170 million health IT upgrade at University Health System (UHS), a South Texas and San Antonio-based hospital and network of outpatient healthcare centers.

Due to COVID-19, health IT experts at UHS and Epic Systems were unable to work together to guide the implementation, which resulted in a two-month implementation delay. As a result, the health system conducted a remote, virtual EHR implementation.

“Installing a new EHR is a significant undertaking. It’s like replacing a health system’s central nervous system,” Lee Wasvick, an executive at Epic, said in a statement to San Antonio Express-News.

“That’s why a team of IT staff, administrators, and clinicians spend months preparing for the launch. This preparation includes testing hundreds of scenarios and training staff on how to use the system.”

According to Epic, a traditional in-person implementation typically requires upwards of 200 vendor support staff to be on-site at the hospital.

Epic implemented its cloud-based EHR at University Hospital, UHS health clinics, and Bexar County Jail. The health system employs roughly 10,000 employees across those facilities.

Ochsner St. Mary

Ochsner St. Mary, a newly acquired hospital by Ochsner Health System, implemented Epic Systems EHR to boost interoperability between the hospital and the health system’s 40-plus hospitals in Louisiana.

In March 2019, Ochsner partnered with Ochsner St. Mary, formerly known as Teche Regional Medical Center. As a part of the agreement, Ochsner Health System agreed to pay the $6 million Epic installation fee to implement the EHR software. Now implemented, Ochsner St. Mary is fully connected to the health system and its partners.

“We are pleased to offer Epic to Ochsner St. Mary patients and bring them the benefits of this leading health technology,” Fernis LeBlanc, CEO of Ochsner St. Mary, said at the time.

“Epic allows patient information to be securely accessed by all Ochsner providers, meaning that no matter where a patient chooses to visit, the medical staff at that facility will have full access to the patient’s medical record, ensuring the highest quality of care.”

St. Francis Medical Center

Prime Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest health systems, integrated the Epic EHR at its recently acquired California-based hospital, St. Francis Medical Center.

The historic acquisition of St. Francis Medical Center, a 384-bed hospital, cost Prime Healthcare over $350 million. Located in Southeast Los Angeles, St. Francis Medical Center treats an average of roughly 64,000 emergency patients and over 2,000 trauma patients per year.

“Prime has already substantially completed the installation of a new medical record system and will continue to offer comprehensive healthcare services that include outpatient services to basic emergency services, women’s services, stroke/STEMI services, trauma services, and more,” Maxine Anderson, MD, chief of staff at St. Francis, said in a statement.

Along with the $350 million purchase agreement, Prime invested $47 million to improve the hospital. Right away, the health system implemented the Epic Systems EHR platform to enhance interoperability.

United Health Services

United Health Services, the most extensive health system in New York State’s Southern Tier, launched Epic Systems EHR to promote data sharing between its 60 locations.

“We’re so pleased that this enhanced patient experience is coming,” Christina Boyd, vice president for Community Relations at UHS, said to Press & Sun-Bulletin.

“Giving patients access to their own care and financial details makes life easier for everyone. We’ve come to expect this type of easy, broad access in other areas of our lives, such as banking and grocery shopping.  So it's natural to have it available in such a critical arena as healthcare.” 

Its staff of more than 500 clinicians were enthusiastic about migrating to the new EHR system, said UHS. The Epic EHR system will replace a 20-year-old patient record-keeping program. 

18 New Practices Select Allscripts

Eighteen new physician practices tapped Allscripts EHR for the vendor’s ambulatory and population health solutions aimed to improve operations and revenue for their respective health organizations.

Allscripts EHR connects all aspects of acute, ambulatory, surgical, pharmacy, radiology, and laboratory services, the vendor said. It also aims to support all core care venues across the system by delivering a single patient record and features patient-centric capabilities that increase access and convenience.

Family Medical Associates of Raleigh, a family medicine facility in North Carolina; Urology Centers of Alabama (UCA), the largest urology group in Alabama; AllCare Health, a health organization, catering to Oregon’s diverse communities; and Synovation Medical Group, in Pasadena, CA were some of the vendor’s most notable implementations.

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