What Epic has done since Oracle bought Cerner

Oracle's $28.4 billion deal to buy Cerner and plans for a nationwide healthcare database have captured the attention of health IT executives since the deal was announced in December. But Epic, which has the largest hospital EHR market share, has also been active in the last six months.

Epic reported $3.8 billion in revenue for 2021 and serves more than 430,000 hospital beds, a net gain of 19,000 in the last two years. Worldwide, more than 285 million patients have electronic records in Epic, including 253 million Americans.

The EHR giant has been busy installing EHRs within Walmart health clinics after it signed a deal with the retailer last year. Several large health systems, including Naples, Fla.-based NCH Healthcare System and Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, have converted their EHRs to Epic in the last six months as well.

A big focus for both Cerner and Epic has been interoperability, after federal government mandates went into effect. Epic said this month it will join the Trust Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, a new health information exchange network aiming to improve data interoperability. Epic will apply to become a qualified health information network, giving its community of more than 2,000 hospitals and 45,000 clinics a chance to join the nationwide framework.

The initiative seems to address many of the same goals Oracle's Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison outlined for the company's nationwide healthcare database powered by Cerner.

Epic's Cosmos platform has also grown to include data from about 800 hospitals, 10,000 clinics and 120 million patients. The data includes information from patients in rural and urban areas and across demographics to capture information about people from several socioeconomic backgrounds that aren't available in other datasets, according to Phil Lindemann, vice president of business intelligence and analytics at Epic. Clinicians and patients can use the data in Cosmos to see which treatments worked best for patients like them.

"We're targeting the first-use cases — common diagnoses like hypertension and diabetes — within the next two years, and then we'll expand from there. We plan to implement this in offices a bit more gradually than other applications and features we've developed so that we can learn as we go and make sure that we're getting it right, because this has the potential to change the way practice is done completely," Mr. Lindemann told Becker's.

Epic opened Cosmos up for broad research across all participants in the last year, and researchers used the information to detect higher incidences of myocarditis in children with COVID-19 than those who never had the virus. The company anticipates Cosmos could add to drug development in the future, in addition to other applications. Epic plans to strengthen the Cosmos platform this year.

In March, Epic launched a software service geared toward independent physicians. The company's Garden Plot gives independent physicians access to Epic's EHR so physician groups that don't have the full platform integrated can still access the records for continuity of care. Garden Plot is available to primary care and specialist groups with 40 or more providers.

The company also strengthened its offerings for health systems in March, launching a customer relationship management system. The CRM, named Cheers, sends messages to patients who use Epic's MyChart portal about care and connects to healthcare providers' phone systems to automatically pull up patient records when they call.

Epic is also working on ambient voice technology. Physicians are already using the technology, named Hey Epic!, for commands in their offices, and the company is working with physicians to bring its voice assistant into the exam room to pull lab results or growth chart information and queue up visit documentation. The company is working on a functionality to draft physicians' notes as well, based on conversations with patients.

Finally, Epic has been working on its payer platform to help customers connect with patients, reduce the administrative burden and foster value-based care.

 

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