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Epic Systems Corp. holds ‘un-users group meeting’

August 19, 2018

For the first time, Epic Systems Corp. is holding a conference for health care organizations that are not among its subscribers.

The idea of the un-Users Group Meeting is to give a “crash course” to employees of non-Epic hospitals and clinics on how they can more easily exchange patient records with Epic-based providers, according to the program’s online agenda.

“Access to a patient’s information, regardless of where he or she has been seen, helps providers deliver the best patient care. The first un-Users Group Meeting (unUGM) is another way we’re reaching out to the leaders of health systems using other EHRs (electronic health records) — or even no EHRs — to help them get connected to the Epic users in their communities,” said Dave Fuhrmann, Epic’s vice president of interoperability.

The daylong conference will be held Sept. 26 on Epic’s Verona campus. Epic spokeswoman Meghan Roh said it’s hard to predict how many people will attend since this is the first year for the event.

Epic has faced accusations of making it difficult for health care providers on other systems to access Epic-based patient records.

But in an article by the publication Health Data Management, Todd Richardson, senior vice president and chief information officer at Aspirus, a Wausau-based hospital system in Wisconsin and Michigan and a user of Epic and Meditech EHRs, said Epic shares data more extensively than it may seem.

“For them to bring in other people and cast the olive branch is significant. You can’t sit in a silo even if you are a major player without ramifications,” Richardson told Health Data Management.

Richardson said the bigger challenge on the horizon will occur over the next five years as more patients begin to own their information and to use mobile apps that access their data.

More than 200 million patients, worldwide, have an electronic health record on an Epic system, the company says on its website.

Epic’s annual Users Group Meeting, expected to attract 8,000 leaders of health care organizations that do use Epic’s software, will be held Aug. 27-30 at the company’s Verona campus.

Teaming with ‘the best’

Meanwhile, patients at any of the 20 “best” hospitals in the U.S., as ranked by U.S. News and World Report last week, have something in common: Their medical records are all housed on Epic’s EHR systems.

The top five of the 20 best are Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine.

Not only that, but according to Epic’s Roh, of other U.S. News and World Report “best” lists, Epic users include:

Eight of the 10 best pediatric hospitals19 of the 20 best medical schools for primary careAll 20 of the best medical schools for research

Epic, established in 1979, is one of the biggest electronic health records companies in the U.S., with 9,500 employees and $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017.

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