50 things to know about Epic and Judy Faulkner

Judy Faulkner was a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a master's degree in computer science when she started Epic Systems in 1979.

Here are 50 things to know about Epic Systems and the woman behind it all.

The company
1. The first office of Epic was comprised of three part-time employees in the basement of an apartment in Madison. Epic was originally named Human Services Computing.

2. Human Services Computing began with a $6,000 investment, part of which came from Ms. Faulkner's parents. Today's Epic is entirely self-funded, as Ms. Faulkner and Epic's early leadership did not raise money from venture capitalists or private equity investors, according to Forbes.

3. Epic remained in Madison, eventually occupying a main office and five satellite sites, until 2005, when it moved to neighboring Verona.

4. In addition to its headquarters at Verona, Epic also has offices in The Netherlands, Dubai, Singapore and Copenhagen.

5. Epic employs approximately 8,000 people in jobs such as software developers, technical problem solvers, project managers, user experience designers and other roles.

6. Epic is privately and employee-owned. In order to ensure the company remains private, Ms. Faulkner created a charitable foundation that her stock will go into and allow the company to remain privately held. The foundation is called the Epic Heritage Foundation.

7. In 2014, Epic's gross revenue totaled approximately $1.77 billion.

About Judy
8. Ms. Faulkner is the founder and CEO of Epic Systems.

9. Prior to graduating from UW-Madison, Ms. Faulkner received her undergraduate degree in mathematics from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.

10. In May, Forbes named Ms. Faulkner the most successful female technology company founder, citing her net worth at $2.6 billion. Forbes previously ranked her as No. 6 on its "America's Self-Made Women" list.

11. Additionally, Ms. Faulkner was ranked No. 633 on Forbes' 2015 list of billionaires in the world.

12. Ms. Faulkner recently signed onto The Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates. The pledge asks the world's wealthiest people to donate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy. Ms. Faulkner pledged to donate 99 percent of her assets.

13. When Becker's Hospital Review asked Ms. Faulkner how one might describe her as a boss, Ms. Faulkner said she went up to somebody she worked with for approximately one year and asked her. Ms. Faulkner's co-worker's response was: "You treat people fairly, which is important to me. The other part is that you explain your reasoning, even if it's been decided or was decided years ago, which allows me to not see you as a guru on the hill but as someone whose thinking I can understand, and it allows me to grow on my own rather than jut getting the fish and walking away."

The EHR platform
14. The EpicCare EMR platform consistently receives top marks from KLAS Research. Epic was named the best overall physician practice vendor in 2014 by KLAS. It was also named the best overall software suit of 2014 by KLAS for the fifth year in a row. Additionally, the inpatient EMR was named the best acute-care EMR, and the ambulatory EMR was named the best for practices with over 11 physicians.

15. According to the company, 69 percent of U.S. hospitals who have achieved the HIMSS Stage 7 EMR Adoption Model Award use EpicCare.

16. Epic has approximately 315 customers. Some big-name clients include Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic and Boston-based Partners HealthCare.

17. Additionally, CVS Health, the largest retail health clinic in the country, uses EpicCare at its CVS MinuteClinic locations.

18. Implementing Epic's EHR is a significant investment, as they are often the most expensive platforms to adopt. Partners HealthCare invested $1.2 billion on its Epic implementation, the health system's biggest single investment to date.

EHR vendor competition/market share
19. As of March 2015, Epic was the most commonly selected EHR by eligible professionals participating in meaningful use. CMS reported more than 109,000 eligible professionals attested to meaningful use on Epic's platform, followed by approximately 49,000 eligible professionals attesting on Allscripts.

20. However, Epic was the third most commonly selected EHR by eligible hospitals participating in meaningful use, with 835 using EpicCare to attest. Cerner and MEDITECH took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively.

21. The top three states where Epic is the most commonly used EHR system for office-based providers participating in meaningful use are North Dakota (it holds 51 percent of the state's EHR market share for office-based providers), Wisconsin (58 percent) and Washington state (44 percent), according to April 2015 CMS data.

22. The top three states where Epic is the most commonly used EHR system for hospitals participating in meaningful use are Minnesota (it holds 55 percent of the state's EHR market share), Wisconsin (44 percent) and Oregon (42 percent), according to April 2015 CMS data.

23. According to healthcare marketing firm SK&A, Epic is the top EHR vendor by in the physician practice market, holding 11.6 percent of the market.

24. Most recently, Epic announced a partnership with IBM Watson and Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic to apply Watson's cognitive computing capabilities to the EMR, which will then submit patient data from the health records to Watson for analysis. The end goal is to better match patients to clinical trials and, ultimately, enhance care delivery.

25. Epic threw its name into the hat for the Department of Defense's Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, an $11 billion project to develop a new EHR for the federal agency. Epic is joined by IBM and Impact Advisors in the bid.

26. In 2014, Epic joined forces with Walgreens and UnitedHealth to form Carequality, a coalition centered on accelerating the exchange of patient data between all stakeholders, including hospitals, payers, physicians and retail clinics.

27. Additionally, Epic joined forces with key health IT players to form the Argonaut Project, an initiative formed by Health Level Seven International to accelerate development and adoption of HL7's Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. Epic joins competitors athenahealth, Cerner, MEDITECH and McKesson, along with key systems like Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston-based Partners HealthCare System, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare and Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.

28. Epic receives a significant amount of criticism from the rest of the healthcare industry for being a "closed" system that does not make it easy to exchange data, a characterization the company continues to fight.

29. Epic claims it is the first vendor to facilitate a patient data exchange between two different EHRs in August 2008 between two facilities in Long Beach, Calif., according to Politico.

30. According to Epic, 6.3 million patient records were exchanged on the company's Care Everywhere platform in October 2014 between Epic EHRs, non-Epic EHRs, health information exchanges and government agencies.

31. Much of the flak directed toward Epic relates to the vendor abstaining from joining other marketplace collaborations that claim to be dedicated to interoperability, such as the CommonWell Alliance, whose members include competitors Cerner, athenahealth, McKesson, Allscripts, CPSI and Greenway Health.

32. In August 2014, Epic hired lobbying firm Card & Associates to improve the perception of the vendor on Capital Hill regarding its position on interoperability.

33. KLAS Research named Epic's Care Everywhere HIE platform as Best in Klas in 2014, the most recent ranking.

34. In April, ONC announced Epic was participating in CMS' Designated Test EHR Program, a voluntary program that allows eligible hospitals, providers and critical access hospitals participating in meaningful use to demonstrate their ability to exchange data. EHRs are registered on an EHR Randomizer, a software system that matches MU participants with an EHR other than the one they use to exchange data.

35. Epic has a director of interoperability, Peter DeVault. Mr. DeVault recently testified in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in a March 17 hearing defending the vendor's interoperability. He said Epic provides customers with the vendor's source code and developer support, as well as tools to support the free flow of information between systems and organizations.

36. At HIMSS15, Epic announced it was waiving its record-sharing fees for exchanging data between Epic and non-Epic vendors until 2020. In an interview with Becker's Hospital Review, Eric Helsher, vice president of client success at Epic said, "We felt the fee was small and, in our opinion, fair and one of the least expensive, but it was confusing to our customers and others in understanding how it worked…There was logic to it, but it confused people, so we decided to end the fee until at least 2020 when we'll consider reevaluating." Mr. Helsher did not disclose how much the fee was.

Controversies and legal issues
37. At the March 17 Senate hearing, Mr. DeVault was asked why Epic did not join the CommonWell Alliance. He said CommonWell is an "aspiring" network that requires significant money to achieve its goal of interoperability. Mr. DeVault also suggested CommonWell intended to sell data downstream, as it requires joining companies to sign non-disclosure agreements.

38. In response to the above comments, Cerner issued a statement defending CommonWell, saying Mr. DeVault's comments were "potshots and false statements" and a "slap in the face" to those working to advance interoperability. Cerner and athenahealth's Jonathan Bush exchanged heated words about Epic on Twitter.

39. Ms. Faulkner has received criticism and questioning for her political ties. She donated to President Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and supports congressional Democrats — factors that Republicans suggest played a role in the government's HITECH Act and federal incentives to boost health IT.

40. Ms. Faulkner also served on the Health IT Policy Committee as the representative of health IT vendors, a position to which she was appointed in 2009. She served until 2014.

41. In 2006, Epic came under fire when an employee of Kaiser Permanente accused the nonprofit system of corruption and wasteful spending, with much of the ire directed at KP HealthConnect, the HMO's $3 billion Epic EHR.

42. In January, Mayo Clinic announced it had selected Epic's EHR and revenue cycle management systems, which meant the system was terminating contracts with GE Healthcare and Cerner.

43. In April 2013, Maine Medical Center in Portland reported it suffered a $13.4 million operating loss over six months of its fiscal year due to a botched $160 million Epic roll-out the previous December. The hospital claimed lack of adequate training from Epic implementation managers caused many of the errors.

44. Epic currently faces two lawsuits alleging the vendor owes employees overtime pay. The similar yet separate lawsuits claimed workers who Epic classified as exempt from overtime wages actually were not exempt and should have been paid overtime. In a statement to Becker's Hospital Review, Epic said "We believe the lawsuit is without merit. We provide good, professional jobs to very talented people and we value their contribution to improving healthcare."

45. In October 2013, the vendor faced similar allegations claiming the company denied approximately 1,000 eligible workers overtime pay. Epic settled in October 2014 for $5.4 million and did not admit guilt.

Life at Epic
46. In an interview with Becker's Hospital Review, Ms. Faulkner identified the company's dress code as something that might surprise readers. "Our dress code is when there are visitors, you must wear clothes," she said. "As long as there's nothing objectionable, everything's fine."

47. Epic doesn't follow a budget, Ms. Faulkner told Becker's Hospital Review. "Our philosophy with that is if you need it, buy it. And if you don't need it, don't buy it," she said. "We teach people how to judge things appropriately and make the right decisions, so it isn't chaos by any means. What we did see is that if you have budgets, people spend to their budget."

48. In 2014, Business Insider ranked Epic No. 5 on its list of companies with the best pay and benefits, reporting an average salary for a technical services employee of $72,000 and average salary for a project manager of $82,000.

49. Epic is known for its marketing-free success. Just 1 percent of Epic's employees in 2012 were in sales and marketing, according to a Forbes report.

50. Ms. Faulkner told Becker's Hospital Review the reason for the minimalist marketing approach is simply because she isn't a marketer. "When I started the company, I had no idea how to do marketing, so we just didn't do it. What I did know, because I was a technical person, is to be able to write good software. So we focused on writing good software, and we focused on doing good support. And then fortunately, word of mouth did the rest. We didn't intend to be a marketing concept, we just simply didn't know what to do."

More articles on Epic:

NCH implements EHR though Epic
10 notes about Epic
Epic, IBM Watson, Mayo Clinic to embed cognitive computing in EHRs

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