The argument that 'life is better when everything is supplied by a single vendor" is ludicrous. The reality is every hospital regardless of size must run at least a handful of varying system. Larger facilities run dozens of specialty systems, which means interfaces/integration is never going away. The 'single vendor' dictum is really the 'less work for the CIO' rule'. If he/she is really the CIO (Chief Integration Officer) they should be up to the challenge of making sure the best systems are in place for each major service area. I know that could be 'hell' for the CIO...but isn't that why they get paid the big bucks??
It makes sense to have everything on one system. To quote the illustrious Mr. HIStalk in today's news: "The appeal is obvious — integration becomes a single vendor’s problem and you’re down to one throat to choke."
I worked with Epic's scheduling App, Cadence, for years as an Application Analyst. It is awesome at scheduling and can handle complex scheduling rules. It's very well developed. However, as a an experienced IT professional and clinician, I strongly believe it is the best interests of our veterans and the VA to be on one system. I without a doubt believe that if Epic got the EHR contract and Cerner was planned for scheduling that they should drop Cerner and integrate Epic across the board.
On another note, Epic has an amazing EHR, but lacks the experience Cerner has in dealing with government agencies as clients. Although the VA will be a challenge for any vendor, Cerner has a strong history with state and local governments. Epic's closest experience to the VA was a failed implementation with the Coast Guard.
Anyone with 2 neurons rubbing together would assume that having everything integrated with the same vendor’s software would improve efficiency and reduce integration problems. Alas, our switch from a different registration system to align with our Cerner EHR was such a miserable fail that it was stopped mid-rollout. Though I know nothing about Epic scheduling, I hope the VA scheduling doesn’t end up worse than before. Our veterans deserve prompt, high quality care with a minimum of technology hassles.
After all their challenges with veteran access to care services, I am dismayed that they'd waste our tax dollars on another implementation. Cadence excels at complex scheduling and rules, application performance, and interfacing. Cerner is still migrating to the Java-based architecture.