Judy Faulkner on COVID-19's financial impact & how digital health advancements will help patients

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a long-lasting effect on the healthcare industry, with new potential for digital health initiatives and data-sharing to help patients and public health surveillance, according to Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic.

In a recent interview with Business Insider, Ms. Faulkner detailed some of the EHR giant's initiatives during the pandemic. Epic manages more than 6 million health records daily and more than 170 million per month, according to the report. The company accounts for 28 percent of the EHR market share in hospitals, according to KLAS Research.

Epic also helped install EHR software for temporary hospitals at convention centers in New York City, Chicago and New Jersey.

Here are five insights from Ms. Faulkner about the future of the healthcare industry post-COVID-19 pandemic:

1. There is a strong possibility for future mergers, acquisitions and layoffs as hospitals and health systems have been forced to spend more money on COVID-19 care while canceling many surgeries and other appointments. Ms. Faulkner said many of Epic's customers have experienced revenue declines between 35 percent and 55 percent.

2. Hospitals will continue to push patient remote monitoring and telehealth programs; she said Epic calculated there have been between 50 and 100 times more video visits being done by clients compared to months before the pandemic.

3. Hospitals and health systems will standardize data definitions so regulators such as the CDC can more quickly access data needed for monitoring public health emergencies.

"If people define the data differently, then you can't aggregate it. So that's a big problem that there isn't enough standardization. And just collecting the data when it isn't standardized doesn't get you very far," Ms. Faulkner said. 

4. There will be a greater focus on public health surveillance, and Epic may help governments by sharing patient data that can derive insights for social distancing guidelines.

5. Ms. Faulkner said she wasn't sure if the pandemic exposed any critical flaws in the healthcare system, adding: "This happened so quickly. There was a shortage of [intensive care unit] beds, a shortage of ventilators. So I don't want to say that anything was a flaw. Because when something so out of the ordinary happens, is that a flaw or is it just we've learned something and next time, if this happens again, we'll be better prepared?"

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