University Health System (UHS) has announced that they will soon be joining the ranks of those using Epic EHR system. While the upgrade will cost UHS $170 million and three years to fully implement, hospital administrators are optimistic that the new system will positively impact patient care and save them money.
Hospital administrator Bill Phillips stated that Epic will go live by May 2020. It was estimated the new EHR could save the health system $12 million annually by reducing the number of individual applications running at UHS.
UHS is not alone in their efforts to streamline processes and improve quality of care. According to the company, Epic holds 54 percent of all patient medical records in the United States. Furthermore, a 2017 report put out by Definitive Healthcare stated that Epic holds a slight edge over medical software competitor Cerner by holding 28 percent of the inpatient hospital market.
Other health systems have also made the decision to invest millions in Epic’s electronic health record system. In February, Catholic Health Systems shared that they would be swapping out their current EHR for an Epic version as part of a $135 million patient record replacement project.
“It’s a transformation of Catholic Health as a whole,” Catholic Health President and CEO Mark Sullivan said in an interview. “The reason we chose Epic is, we wanted to be in the same room, if you will, as top health care providers in the country.”
It’s the most expensive undertaking that Catholic Health Systems has every made but they have high hopes Epic will provide them with more options for viewing patient data. “Many decisions in health care are made based on snapshots of data,” said Sullivan. “You go to your doctor, they have a snapshot of this data. You go to a hospital, they have a snapshot of this data. By us implementing Epic, we’ll be able to have that story of the patient. We’ll be able to understand all the intricacies of what may have caused this, as long as those providers are tied in with us.”
While most at University Health System are pleased about the electronic health record update, there are some staff that are concerned about the change. “We’re so used to our Amazon and our Netflix (but) the technology in health care leaves a lot to be desired,” infection disease specialist Ogechika Alozie said in an interview.
UHS leadership knows that care providers may go through some growing pains as they adapt to the new system but they believe it’s worth it. Administrators say that Epic is a one-stop-shop where providers can exchange health data with others; carry out administrative tasks; and deliver patient care. UHS predicts that they will be able to use the EHR for everything from clinical documentation to prescribing. In the long run, it’s thought the software solution will improve coordination of care and patient health outcomes across their network.