Well, I just finished my second round of classes in the Epic EMR system. The first time, I trained in MyEpic/Radar and Reporting Workbench – and I successfully passed the certification exams for these two modules (for lack of a better term). I’m unaware of the official terminology for individual Epic system applications.
Next, I will be taking the Resolute Professional Billing test. While I’m not going to go into specifics about the exams themselves (except to say that they are open-book, open-notes, and open-system), I would like to comment about the certification process. A popular question online is ‘how do I become Epic certified?’ The short-hand answer is that you must work for an Epic-enabled health care system. Forbes magazine has a collection of articles about the Epic CEO, Judy Faulkner, and how selective she is with her system – the gist is that she picks health systems to use Epic, and has denied hospitals the right to use her software.
Epic itself is a great place to visit – a sprawling rural campus in the heartland of Verona, Wisconsin. It is a treasure-trove of curious artifacts and quirky, geeky humor. The training rooms are named such titles as ‘Mordor‘ and ‘Cyclops’. There is also a large slide in a building aptly named ‘Heaven’, and a replica of the temple in the initial scene of ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom‘ (think: ‘Throw me the idol and I’ll throw you the whip!’ – that scene). I guess Epic is kind of like Geek Paradise.
The Epic system itself is a highly customizable, fully certified, cutting-edge EMR software application. It is still a database application, and will require highly skilled operators to keep it tuned and running smoothly. My company has an Epic team dedicated to the system – probably about 40 staff all together. Our IT/IS department is much larger than that, and Epic reaches into our analytics, financial, and clinical workflows. Essentially, Epic is inseparable from Penn Medicine.
Our healthcare system is blended into Epic to the degree that we (data/analytics/clinical care) are indistinguishable from the EMR. This is the dawning of a type of personalized medicine – while people don’t recognize EMR systems as artificial intelligence and knowledge capture/engineering systems, Epic and other EMRs are uniquely situated to store all types of data, even genomic and phenotypic.
Ultimately, the EMR systems of 2013 will give rise to the virtualized medicine of 2043 – it is only a matter of time until the merging of medical record systems and technology will leap the Singularity gap and become an instrumental part of everyday medical care.
Already, I see data stores and genomic/biotechnological research combining into a meta-engine of genetic research. Science and the genome are going to become rapidly intertwined within each other’s helix of functionality. I doubt we will recognize the science of 2043, only two generations after the advent of personalized healthcare – and this movement will be pushed ahead by the medical record systems developed by corporations such as Epic.