UMass Memorial Health Care invests $700M in new Epic system

Worcester, Mass.-based UMass Memorial Health Care is getting ready to roll out an Epic EHR system, which will go live Oct. 1, reports MassLive.

The $700 million investment will be paid out over the next 10 years. However, if the EHR increases hospital efficiency by just 2 percent each year over the next five years, the system will have paid for itself, UMass Memorial Health Care President and CEO Eric Dickson, MD, told MassLive.

To prepare for the go-live, health system employees are training with computers and mannequin patients in the UMass Medical School simulation lab. Physicians spend about 12 hours training and nurses spend about 20 hours or more, Eric Alper, MD, chief clinical informatics officer and the physician champion for the Epic project, told MassLive.

The Epic EHR will allow UMass records to be more readily available outside the hospital — 75 percent of New England's population and nearly 65 percent of Massachusetts' population have a record in Epic.

"It's game changing," Dr. Dickson told MassLive. "The future of healthcare is we're going to interact with our patients through a virtual environment. The future is about constantly working with patients, especially complex patients, through a virtual environment."

More articles on EHRs:

Dr. Andrew Gettinger: 3 tips on ensuring EHR safety

EHRs partially or completely implemented in 99% of US hospitals: 4 survey findings

Drs. John Halamka, Micky Tripathi: Policymakers invented the 'myth' of information blocking

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