How Central Wisconsin Is Changing Health Care

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Sometimes, the greatest innovation and the strongest leadership don’t occur in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and other major metropolises. In Madison and other areas of central Wisconsin, you can find intriguing developments that are changing health care.

Madison, Wisconsin, Serves as Epic’s Home Base

Many of the health care advancements in central Wisconsin revolve around Epic Systems Corp., a privately held, employee-owned software firm that maintains its headquarters in Verona, Wisconsin. The company manufactures and distributes EHR, electronic health record, software serving some of the largest health care conglomerates in the United States, according to Boston Globe staff writer Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, including Kaiser Permanente and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

McCluskey said that health care systems choose Epic because of its solid reputation in the industry and because of the software’s reliability. She noted that Epic served a valuable role in “helping hospitals modernize their technology in the pre-Internet age.”

Epic’s Founder Eschews the Spotlight and External Capital

Some of Epic’s impressive growth stems from the dedication its founder, Judith Faulkner, devotes to the company and its employees. Forbes contributor Zina Moukheiber profiled Epic in 2012, noting Faulkner’s refusal to accept external funding and her desire to keep the spotlight aimed on the company instead of herself.

Additionally, Moukheiber reported that Epic relies on nontraditional methods of gaining new customers. Epic doesn’t devote precious capital to marketing or advertising; rather, the company focuses its employees’ energies on developing better software.

Walgreens Will Adopt EpicCare in Early 2016

Although Epic operates from a tiny suburb in Madison, its reach extends far beyond Verona’s borders. Healthcare IT News editor Bernie Monegain reported that pharmacy giant Walgreens plans to install EpicCare EHRs in 400 of its clinic locations starting in early 2016.

The EpicCare platform will foster interoperabilty, according to Monegain. This platform will also enable secure communication between Walgreens clinicians and other health care facilities, which should improve patients’ experiences and efficiencies in Walgreens clinics. Plus, collecting data for health care informatics analysts and public health purposes becomes easier with interoperability.

Epic’s EHR Implementation Extends Beyond Hospitals and Clinics

In addition to spreading its software through health care facilities like Walgreens, Epic also targets other markets to increase its reach. Writing for Vox, Adrianna McIntyre reported in June 2014 that Apple announced a partnership with Epic to bring Epic’s EHR records to Apple’s HealthKit.

Initiatives like these bring EHRs closer to the interoperability standard that health care facilities want to reach. According to the American Health Information Management Association, interoperable health care technology allows patients’ medical records to follow them from one facility to the next. This technology also allows patients to access their own medical records, which enables them to make informed decisions about their own health.

From a small suburb in central Wisconsin, Epic proves that a company doesn’t have to operate from a large city to make an impact on health care technology and informatics. As EHRs gain even more attraction in the medical community, providers and patients will need innovative solutions to keep those systems connected.

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