9 things Judy Faulkner said when she sat down with Dr. Stephen Klasko

Philadelphia-based Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health President and CEO Stephen Klasko, MD, recently interviewed Epic Founder and CEO Judy Faulkner not about Epic's EHR — but about the future of healthcare.

Dr. Klasko, who also serves as editor-in-chief of Healthcare Transformation, sat down with both Ms. Faulkner and David Nash, MD, dean of Philadelphia-based Thomas Jefferson University's College of Population Health and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Population Health Management.

During their conversation, which was published in Q&A format in Healthcare Transformation, Dr. Klasko and Ms. Faulkner discussed the history behind Epic's founding, why physicians need curiosity and one thing people don't know about her.

Here are nine of Ms. Faulkner's most memorable quotes from the interview.

On founding Epic

"I spent a couple years working side-by-side with physicians and learned how important this was to them. They would go around the country and give talks, they would write papers and they'd come back and say, 'Judy, our peers out there want the system. Start a company.' And I would just laugh. And for two years, they harassed me, and then finally one day, I said, 'Okay.' I had no idea how you start a company."

On what customers, including physicians, wanted her to solve

"The problem they were trying to solve was twofold. One, they wanted to keep information about patients, but they wanted to define for themselves what that information was going to be ... [a]nd two, they wanted clinical information."

On the physician of the future

"So down one path, the doctor of the future looks sad. If the government continues as the government has been doing and thinks that they need to save healthcare by making more and more rules for what the doctors have to do, then the strong people will not go into that profession. ... The upside is that, indeed, the government can do things differently."

On how the physician of the future will work differently

"The saying 'the physician who could be replaced by technology should be' is a good thing because, in the end, physicians are human beings who offer a whole lot more than technology."

On what she would ask medical school applicants

"Are they interacting with you? Do you find a sense of curiosity? That would be one of the things I would look for: a sense of curiosity."

On jobs people may have 10 years from today

"And there are going to be people who will deal with loneliness too, in that loneliness has a high correlation with morbidity. If, in fact, you have people whose job it is to pay attention and help patients not feel lonely, you will see healthcare needs decrease as the needs are met in other ways than 'I have to go to the doctor's office.'"

On the future of health IT

"10 years from now, there is going to be a lot more in the way of what MyChart or patient portals do with the patient, so that the patient with diabetes is going to have help all the time on the portal, not only for communicating things back to her doctor, but also for giving her advice, for giving her reminders."

On something people don't know about her

"Okay, something you do not know about me: the reason I ended up developing this software. I was teaching computer science at the University of Wisconsin in West Bend, and they called to tell me that there were enough people signed up for the class they wanted me to teach in the fall. However, it was my child's birthday. And there were all these young kids running around screaming joyfully. I misheard and thought the UW said there were not enough students signed up.

"So I called the physicians at UW Health, who had asked me if I could do more work but did not think I could because I was teaching this class, and I said, 'I can work a whole lot more. I do not have a class.' Then when college began, UW West Bend asked me where I was."

On something people don't know about Epic

"When Epic had 300 people and we knew we had outgrown our buildings, we went to Red West, which is where my son worked at Microsoft. We wanted to buy land so that we did not have to keep renting buildings and outgrowing them, but could instead build a new building on the land whenever we needed it.

"We figured that the biggest we would grow would be 3,000 people, and Red West held about 3,000 people. We got there and we walked around and eyeballed it. It looked pretty good. We came back here and we bought 350 acres, which looked to us to be about the same size.

"Then we asked one of our architects who had designed Red West how many acres Red West took up, and he said 29. So the reason we bought 350 acres, which was really a very good thing, was because we had no ability whatsoever to judge land size."

Click here to read the full interview.

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