10 Things to Know About Epic

Epic Systems is a large, privately held health IT company best known for its electronic health record system.

Here are 10 things to know about Epic.

  1. Some of the nation's largest and most prestigious hospitals and health systems use Epic's EHR system, including Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, UCLA Health in Los Angeles, Arlington-based Texas Health Resources, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mount Sinai Health System in New York City and Duke University Health System in Raleigh, N.C. In total, Epic has 297 customers, and 70 percent of HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 hospitals use the EpicCare inpatient EHR system.
  2. In February, CVS Caremark's retail clinic chain, MinuteClinic, announced it will switch from its proprietary EHR system to Epic. When the transition is complete, about 51 percent of Americans will have an Epic record.
  3. Epic was founded in 1979 by computer scientist Judy Faulkner, who coded the original Epic software. Ms. Faulkner remains Epic's leader, currently serving as CEO. Forbes estimates her net worth at $3 billion and put her at No. 243 on the magazine's annual list of the richest people in America.
  4. Epic EHR systems are some of the most expensive on the market. Duke University Health System reportedly paid $700 million for its Epic system; Kaiser Permanente, $4 billion. Additionally, a Peer60 survey found Epic EHRs come with higher upgrade costs — Epic users spent an additional sum between 40 and 49 percent of the system's initial costs in major and minor upgrades, while Cerner users spent between 30 and 35 percent and Allscripts users spent between 20 and 22 percent.
  5. In the past year, several providers, including Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and HealthEast Care System in St. Paul, Minn., have pointed to the cost of their Epic EHR implementations as a cause of their credit challenges.
  6. All Epic EHR systems and applications are developed, implemented and supported in-house. Epic garners positive user reviews, and was ranked the No. 1 Overall Software Suite for 2013 by KLAS Research.
  7. Epic is the only major EHR vendor that is not a member of CommonWell Health Alliance, an industry coalition aimed at increasing interoperability between EHR platforms. Calling the group an attempt to increase the vendors' market shares, Epic instead partnered with Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Surescripts and other organizations to form Carequality, which aims to increase data exchange between hospitals, physicians, payers, retail clinics and other healthcare stakeholders.
  8. In 2005, Epic moved its headquarters from Madison, Wis., to nearby Verona, Wis. The current 950-acre campus is designed to foster creativity and promote casual interactions among its near-7,000 employees through features like a climbing wall and a functional tree house retreat. Every year, thousands of health IT professionals descend on the Verona campus for Epic's Users' Group Meeting.
  9. Because many smaller healthcare organizations may not have the resources to implement Epic, many Epic clients have begun offering their version of the EHR to local providers. In February, Mercy, a health system based in Chesterfield, Mo., became the first accredited provider of the Epic Connect program, and will provide consulting services and hosting of its Epic EHR in a software-as-a-service model.
  10. Epic is known for spending little money on sales and marketing efforts. According to Forbes, the company has about one-quarter the sales staff of competitor Cerner, and customers generally reach out to Epic rather than the other way around.

More Articles on Epic:

Virtua, CHOP Successfully Link Epic and Siemens EHR Systems
EHR Install Dampens Wellmont's Operating Margin
The Life of a Healthcare CIO: Fletcher Allen's Chuck Podesta 

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