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$400 Million Boondoggle Commentary 

$400 Million Boondoggle

Another Boondoggle.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle on 12/15/2016: “A huge project to modernize medical record-keeping for California prison inmates has more than doubled in cost from original estimates to nearly $400 million in just three years, the latest in a long string of computer projects that have befuddled state government.”

Even for those of us who are familiar with the high prices charged for health care software, this example of wasted taxpayer money is hard to fathom. The article goes on to report: “In court and budget filings, Kelso’s [the court receiver] office largely blamed problems with the medical records system on the contractor, Cerner Corp., which is being paid $177 million over the project’s 11-year life.”

Ever since the feds pumped $87 billion into the EMR software market, the US has been enamored with the belief that EMR software has to have a huge price tag to be any good. But the bloated systems that are being peddled by the billion dollar US software companies are often cumbersome and running on outmoded technology as the article states: “Employees struggle to learn the new record-keeping system.”

The article further states: “The biggest problem was a pharmaceutical records system so complex that it turned out to be ‘damn near unusable’ when it was tested last winter at three prisons, Kelso said: ‘The thing wasn’t designed or implemented properly.’”

Like other failed software projects, the state will likely continue to pour money into this one with the belief that they can’t afford to waste the dollars that they have already poured down the drain. This leaves the inmates and staff with the short end of the stick having to contend with a cumbersome system and not enough money to provide care.

Read the full article at SFGATE


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