The Boston Globe takes a look inside the Verona, Wisconsin headquarters of Epic Systems, which includes a treehouse. The newspaper says Massachusetts hospitals and health systems have announced more than $2 billion in spending on Epic software and systems for electronic medical records. There's also some skepticism:
Critics, including health care analysts and Epic's competitors, say Epic's products cost too much, rely on outdated technology, and make it difficult for doctors to share patient records across different systems. The company, they say, is selling closed, proprietary systems at a time when technology overall is moving to open, Internet-based applications.
"It's a beautiful relic from another era," said Jonathan Bush, the chief executive of Watertown-based athenahealth, another maker of electronic health records and medical software.
The implementation of Epic's software is a huge and expensive ordeal requiring large health systems to establish data centers filled with servers, hire hundreds of technology workers, and train thousands of staff. Productivity also declines when hospitals launch the system; they reduce appointments while their workers adjust to the software.
Partners hired 600 employees and hundreds of consultants to implement Epic across its network over about five years. The effort will cost $1.2 billion, more than Partners has ever spent on any other project. At Lahey's flagship hospital in Burlington, the launch went $14 million over budget and contributed to a $21 million financial loss in the first half of the year.
FutureOfCapitalism had a long article about Epic, "The Bloomberg of Electronic Medical Records," back in 2009.