Epic adds life sciences program as part of national IT infrastructure

Epic aims to speed up clinical trials and therapy development with a new life sciences program.

Providers are already using Epic to conduct more than 100,000 active research studies including 4.7 million patients. The EHR giant aims to speed up medical advancements by improving interaction between patients, providers and sponsors and streamlining communication, according to a Sept. 14 news release.

The program matches providers with clinical trial opportunities fitting their patient populations and sends providers targeted Cosmos searches to help validate whether a trial is a good fit without additional queries. The program also aims to make clinical trials more accessible to provider groups by lowering technical and staffing barriers to begin studies.

"Conducting clinical trials to bring new therapies to patients is a core function of our provider community," said Alan Hutchison, vice president at Epic. "Much like the work to create deep clinical interoperability and improve payer-provider collaboration, the facilitation of critical research is vital for our provider organizations and their patients."

Epic's life sciences program will also notify clinicians about whether patients may qualify for clinical trials and apply predictive models to assist with therapy administration timing.

The life sciences program is available to providers in Epic's network. The program is an opt-in option for providers, and efforts are underway at some organizations to use the clinical trial matchmaking. There are additional features for organizations participating in Cosmos, which includes data from more than 160 million patients, 1,000 hospitals and 200,000 physicians, according to Seth Howard, vice president of research and development at Epic.

Because providers from all facility types — such as rural critical access hospitals, independent practices, retail clinics and acute care hospitals — use Epic EHR, the patient population is representative of the diverse U.S. population demographics.

"The life sciences program will create a unified research infrastructure that connects these patients and providers with study sponsors, allowing all research sites to work together more effectively and to conduct more representative studies," Mr. Howard said. "Ultimately, the goal is to democratize trials by creating new pathways for organizations and patients not previously involved in clinical research to participate. This includes decentralizing trials through telehealth and remote patient monitoring, increasing patient engagement with MyChart, and removing friction throughout the clinical trial process to reduce study sites' barriers to participation."

These efforts dovetail with Epic's goal of building a platform that connects the healthcare ecosystem across the U.S.

"We will continue to expand our work to develop a national health IT infrastructure that connects patients, providers, payers, genomic sequencing labs, life sciences companies and more," Mr. Hutchison said. "Together, these connections will help to build bridges between the disconnected parts of healthcare, supporting higher quality care and advancing the development of lifesaving therapies."

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