Epic in the past 90 days: 7 things to know

Over the past few months, Epic has inked partnerships to improve interoperability and information exchange between providers and continued work on new artificial intelligence technologies.

Here are seven moves the Verona, Wis.-based EHR giant has made since June:

1. Health Care Service Corp., the Chicago-based parent of five Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans, partnered with Epic in June to launch a health information exchange platform between insurers, providers and patients. The new platform operates through Epic and establishes a two-way information exchange between HCSC and in-network providers that use Epic's software.

2. Epic's partnership with Humana, which focuses on expanding interoperability and transparency between patients and providers, reached the one-year mark in June. Both companies told Becker's that Epic and Humana are collaborating on a feature that could lower out-of-pocket costs for patients by helping clinicians understand which specialists are in-network for each patient's plan coverage.

3. In July, Epic initiated an estimated $3.9 million upgrade to its Rochester, Minn.-based data center's mechanical equipment and electrical systems. Epic had purchased the data center in 2016 from Mayo Clinic for $46 million. The EHR vendor filed a building permit to install new mechanical and electrical equipment and HVAC and electrical systems modifications to current data hall and support space.

4. In early August, hundreds of Epic employees began voicing concerns to the EHR giant about its then-required on-campus return in September. Epic then notified its employees on Aug. 8 it was adjusting return-to-work requirements and tapped Cleveland Clinic to review its plans. On Aug. 12, Epic informed employees they would be permitted to work from home through at least the end of 2020. 

5. Epic also confirmed plans in August to merge four of its departments: end user training, implementation, quality assurance and technical communications, into one larger application services division.

6. Epic founder and CEO Judy Faulkner shared insights on the company's COVID-19 response, business philosophy and current projects during Cleveland Clinic's Ideas for Tomorrow virtual speaker series Sept. 2. Ms. Faulkner said that Epic's database initiative Cosmos has surpassed the more than 50 million records goal it planned to add in 2020, with more than 60 million records stored and adding more each day.

7. Epic is also experimenting with ambient voice tech and artificial intelligence, which Ms. Faulkner said the company is now transitioning from its previous rules-based AI – used to alert clinicians about possible drug interactions – to machine-based AI for producing algorithms.

More articles on EHRs:
Finland taps Cerner to develop joint health and social services digital system: 4 details  
Meditech rolls out virtual voice assistant for EHR 
Widow of HealthAlliance patient sues hospital, EHR vendor for not releasing husband's medical records 

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