Hackensack's Epic EHR move to Google will create improved interoperability

Edison, N.J.-based Hackensack Meridian Health is looking to provide a huge opportunity for discoveries that can improve patient care and interoperability with its ongoing collaboration with Google Cloud, Kash Patel, executive vice president and chief digital information officer, told Becker's.

The health system partnered with the tech giant on two new projects: a "healthcare data engine accelerator" to use data and analytics to improve its value-based care, and to be one of the first health systems to migrate its Epic EHR to Google Cloud. 

The initiatives expand upon the health system's "3.0 journey," which embeds artificial intelligence, machine learning, advanced data modeling and techniques to give structured data more power.

Mr. Patel said the health system saw Google as a natural partner because the company has a vast set of tools and technology in the machine learning and AI space — a place where Google thrives in leadership. 

Naturally, with the health system digging deeper into what Mr. Patel calls a "deep analysis mode," it was the right time to migrate its Epic EHR system to Google Cloud. The advantages to moving enterprise applications like Epic to the cloud, according to Mr. Patel, is that it puts all of Hackensack's technical operating systems into a single environment. 

"Epic is not just one single environment; it has a plethora of applications, services and integrations," said Mr. Patel. "If we can move all of that to Google, our world of interoperability becomes a lot easier and we can adapt much quicker."

The single cloud environment will also allow the health system to integrate its algorithms into its Epic environment. This will allow Hackensack to make integrations and workflow optimization easier.

"Sharing data from one system to another, it becomes a lot easier with one environment," said Mr. Patel. "With this, we are going to have a better opportunity to transform."

For patients, this also means that digital experiences such as home-based care and telemedicine can be made available in the cloud environment. 

"Long-term patient impact will be the digital journey plan, and how we can integrate new technologies, new ideas, and new services such as digital front doors, hospital-at-home and remote patient monitoring into our cloud platform environment," said Mr. Patel. "This integration will allow patients to benefit from more of a seamless experience and increase patient satisfaction and engagement as we will be able to provide a richer digital experience."

Hackensack does not have a set date for when the Epic System will be fully integrated into the cloud, but Mr. Patel said it is already completing an analysis with Google engineers.

Currently, the Hackensack team and Google are working to create a plan of "phases" in which the integration will be completed. 

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