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A One of a Kind Deal: EMHS and Cerner make it official

Win-Win,-sticky-note.jpgA lot of work has taken place since EMHS selected Cerner as its partner for an enterprisewide electronic health record (EHR) system. Much of the work has been behind the scenes, so the communication profile has been low since the initial reporting. However, we are very pleased to share that we have completed the official step to becoming a truly integrated health delivery system.

“This ten-year partnership is unlike any other contract EMHS has ever been involved with,” said Kyle Johnson, MMI, vice president and chief information officer for EMHS. On June 30, representatives from EMHS and Cerner signed a contract that cements a strategic partnership for the next decade. “What makes this partnership so unique is that we needed someone who can understand the complexity of affiliations in rural healthcare. Not only did Cerner step up to the plate, they are putting resources behind their promises.”

Many smaller Maine hospitals and their practices cannot afford the substantial investment of upgrading to a new electronic health record. That is why EMHS is using the strength of its buying power to support some rural hospitals outside of the system, and to create integrated health delivery systems among our most rural communities. “The arrangement EMHS has with some of these hospitals is not an affiliated relationship per Cerner’s definition of affiliate,” Kyle remarks. “We need the cost to be very low for our rural affiliates and we need a partner who can work with a more open definition of ‘affiliates.’” Cerner is working with EMHS to provide favorable pricing for the smaller facilities in Maine who would become part of the EMHS Cerner platform.

“This is a strategic partnership,” said Ben Hilmes, senior vice president of Premier Focus East for Cerner. “EMHS is a healthcare system that offers everything from trauma care to behavioral care in both rural and urban settings in a state with a strong Medicare patient base. For us, this is a perfect opportunity to showcase the full spectrum of what Cerner has to offer. This partnership will be transformational for Cerner and EMHS, as well as the communities we serve.”

“As an organization, we are so ready for this. This has been a long time in discussion and I feel that many at EMHS are just glad that we have a decision made,” exclaimed Kyle and she knows what she is talking about; she came to EMHS from Trinity Healthcare in Michigan three years ago with the intention of standardizing and optimizing EMHS’ electronic health record. “This partnership with Cerner will help highlight, with tangible results, for our affiliates what we mean when we say, 'together we’re stronger.'”

This Cerner development comes amidst recent news that EMHS has been recognized as a collective system on the American Hospital Association’s 2017 Most Wired list, which measures integration of technology for healthcare delivery. “I am very proud of the work our IS teams are doing to transform care delivery,” says Kyle. “As we confidently move ahead with our enterprise electronic health record implementation, the Most Wired award is a nice reminder of the dedicated, talented employees we have supporting our technology advancements.”

As optimization moves forward, watch Pathways and the microsites for the latest news and information. If you have a question about the EHR, please visit our microsite at