Epic comes out in force, brings thousands to HIMSS

At first glance, most of the Epic representatives blended into the massive crowds at the HIMSS15 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago. They traveled in groups of three or four, most dressed semi-casually as they chatted between booths.

At closer examination, the exhibition center was packed with Epic employees — approximately 2,700 of them all told, including attendees and booth staff, according to HIMSS registration records. Cerner, its next largest competitor in the EHR market, brought only 377.

One of the reasons for the massive Epic attendance could be the location. Chicago is in Epic's backyard. Traveling from its Verona, Wis., headquarters makes for a much easier trip than the previous venues in Las Vegas and Orlando, according to Epic spokesman Shawn Kiesau.

"When HIMSS is nearby, we take advantage of the learning opportunity for our staff," Mr. Kiesau said in an email. "About 95 percent of those took day trips by bus to attend educational sessions, see the exhibit hall and meet with customers."

Another reason could be that Epic is making a concerted effort to become more conversant with the public.The notoriously private company has steadily gained a huge share of the EHR market, and with it, national attention. It is currently engaged in a bidding contest against major competitors Cerner and Allscripts for the $11 billion Department of Defense EHR contract, drawing even more scrutiny. For the first time, Epic has made regular appearances in Washington and engaged in more industry discussions with other companies, according to Politico.

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