Epic CEO Judy Faulkner on big tech competition, client relationships & no plans for retirement 

As founder and CEO of Epic, Judy Faulkner has led the multibillion-dollar EHR giant to dominate the market space. 

In an interview with Forbes' healthcare writer Katie Jennings published April 8, Ms. Faulkner shared insights on the company's client relationship culture, health IT competition and her role as CEO. 

1. Ms. Faulkner said she views new relationships with healthcare customers as a wedding; in 2020, Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth began its transition to Epic, a process that will take more than three years and cost about $650 million to complete, according to the report. With ongoing maintenance, the project will cost millions more annually. 

"It's a very long relationship for many of our customers,” Ms. Faulkner said. "[A new customer] didn't feel like a new baby. It felt more like a wedding." 

2. Epic has 564 customers, which represent almost 2,400 hospitals across the world and 225 million patients in the U.S. In 2020, the company posted more than $3.3 billion in revenue, and Ms. Faulkner said she estimated about $500 million in foregone revenue for COVID-19 related software it provided free of charge. 

"It never seemed right to me to make money off COVID,” she said. 

3. When it comes to tech giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft, Ms. Faulkner said she is not concerned about them entering the healthcare space. 

"I think that what will happen is that a few of them will do very well. And the majority of them won’t," she said. "It’s not us as much as the health systems who have to respond to the patient saying, 'Send my data here,' or 'Send my data there.'" 

4. Ms. Faulkner, who is 78, said has no plans to retire. She has not named a successor to the company, and none of her three children work at Epic. She has secured the company's future only insofar as it will never be taken public. She has split her 47 percent stock in the company into voting shares that can't be sold and have gone into a trust managed by family members and employees. 

"I enjoy what I do and I’d like to do it as long as I am effective and can bring value in the job," she said. 

5. After having read that the average person dies two years after leaving the workforce, Ms. Faulkner said she worries about what happens to people after they retire. 

"They seem to lose that edge that says, 'Why am I waking up in the morning? What is my day going to be?’ I wake up and think, 'How do I get everything done in my day?'"

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