Epic Suck

S Aufrecht

Carol Hawthorne-Johnson, an intensive-care-unit nurse in California, said her hospital doesn’t shut down the Epic system during the fall time change. But she’s come to expect that the vital signs she enters into the system from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday will be deleted when the clock falls back to 1 a.m. One hour’s worth of electronic record-keeping “is gone,” she said.

At the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, providers who need to check patients periodically through the night use a workaround: They enter vitals at 1 a.m. and then when the clock falls back an hour later and they have to enter new vitals, they list them at 1:01 a.m. They leave a note that it’s an hour later, not a minute later. That’s how the Cleveland Clinic does it, too.

Many hospitals use Cerner, another major electronic medical records company. Those hospitals plan for Cerner to be down during the time change, too.

Cerner was unavailable to comment. A spokeswoman for Epic, asked to comment on the glitches and workarounds, provided a statement.

“Daylight saving time is inherently nuanced for health care organizations, which is why we work closely with customers to provide guidance on how to most effectively use their system to care for their patients during this time period,” Epic spokeswoman Meghan Roh said. “We’re constantly making improvements and looking for opportunities to enhance the system.”

—Sydney Lupkin, USA Today1

Since it’s practically impossible to ever change EHRs once one is adopted, vendors don’t need to fix problems like this.

The electronic health record (EHR) vendor market share has changed … Cerner continues to lead the global EHR market, with 17 percent of the market, more than double the market share of its rival, Epic …

—Heather Landi, Healthcare Informatics2


  1. Lupkin, Sydney. (2018-Nov-03). Like clockwork: How daylight saving time stumps hospital record keeping. Kaiser Health News, *USA Today. Retrievew from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2018/11/03/daylight-saving-time-hospital-electronic-medical-records-emergency-fall-back/1864579002/
  2. Landi, Heather. (2018-May-16). Report: EHR Market Share Shifting, Cerner Continues to Lead Global Market. Healthcare Informatics. Retrieved from https://www.healthcare-informatics.com/news-item/ehr/report-ehr-market-share-shifting-cerner-continues-lead-global-market.