Epic Systems Releases SaaS for Independent Medical Groups

The software as a service (SaaS) will offer providers of independent medical groups streamlined access to Epic EHR tools.

Epic Systems announced it has launched Garden Plot, a new software-as-a-service (Saas) designed for independent medical groups looking to use Epic EHR tools.

In a time when nearly half of US physicians work in independent medical groups, Garden Plot aims to streamline physician access to application-based EHR tools, including integrated products from Availity, Biscom, Change Healthcare, Healthwise, Intelligent Medical Objects, Iron Bridge, Lyniate, OSG Billing Services, Solarity, Sphere, Surescripts, and Wolters Kluwer.

“We’re excited to give more clinicians the opportunity to use Epic software,” JP Heres, vice president of Garden Plot at Epic, said in the press release. “Garden Plot gives small, independent groups access to Epic—the software and third parties they need, plus the strength of our interoperability network—with minimal overhead. We handle hosting, support, and the configuration and rollout of updates so that providers can focus on their patients.”

The software also intends to offer high-quality and community-driven care while meeting evolving regulatory requirements.

Currently, Garden Plot is solely available to primary and specialty care groups with more than 40 providers. In May 2022, the first wave of implementations will kick off, Heres stated.

In the past, the Community Connect program has been an option for healthcare systems to gain Epic EHR access but Garden Plot provides an avenue to work with Epic directly.

Many health systems have used Epic’s Community Connect program to allow hospitals to connect to a larger local hospital in order to gain access to the Epic EHR network without needing the internal support teams or purchase infrastructure.

Nearly 40,000 providers have gained access to Epic through the Community Connect for better interoperability and patient data sharing.

Despite the Community Connect program being a cost-effective way to access Epic’s EHR system, a 2020 KLAS Pulse Check report found that midsize to large ambulatory organizations have a better experience when dealing directly from the vendor.  

Respondents who worked directly with Epic graded the vendor a 91.3 overall on a 100-point scale. Ambulatory organizations who worked with Community Connect scored it 78.8 overall.

In addition, members of Community Connect were less likely to recommend that avenue, compared to respondents who worked directly with Epic.

Community Connect members felt that the quality of support experience is based on the host organization and issues are sometimes overlooked by the host organization or not resolved to satisfaction.

This latest move from Epic Systems could represent another approach for smaller organizations without the purchasing power for a full Epic EHR suite to use the product.

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