Cerner Challenges Epic's Contract with University of Illinois Medical Center

Ryan Black

Cerner argues that it bid less than its rival, which won a $62 million contract with the health system.

The electronic health records (EHR) giant Cerner Corp. has filed protest with the state of Illinois over a contract its rival, Epic Systems, was awarded.

Cerner argues that it bid $1.5 million less than Epic, which won a $62 million EHR contract with the University of Illinois medical center (UI Health). The complaint, which was filed with Illinois’s Chief Procurement Office for Higher Education in September, was reported by the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette.

UI Health says it declined Cerner’s bid due to “problems with Cerner products in the past.” It noted that KLAS "consistently rates Cerner well below Epic" in software performance. Cerner says it was never given an opportunity to demonstrate its solutions for the health system, and that Epic was the only on allowed to do so.

Also at issue in Cerner’s complaint is the involvement of a company called Impact Advisors. UI Health hired the firm to advise its transition. Cerner says the company could benefit from the Epic contract, and that the 2 companies have worked together closely in the past (even though Cerner itself has also done business with Impact Advisors in the past).

"Impact Advisors stands to gain financially by ousting the incumbent and replacing the Cerner system with an Epic system," Cerner argued, according to documents obtained by the News-Gazette in a Freedom of Information Act request. UI Health said Impact Advisors “is not assured of any additional role in this process.”

The EHR makeover is part of UI Health’s larger Integrated Information Infrastructure project. The health system’s records are currently spread across a variety of EHR platforms, including McKesson, Allscripts, Midas, and both Cerner and Epic.

The project is expected to be live in 2019, but is currently stalled due to the protest. If the state upholds the protest, the health system would need to reissue its Request for Proposals.

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