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Epic Systems Hits Record 221M Patient Data Exchanges in October

Following another COVID-19 surge in October, Epic Systems noted a 40 percent increase in patient data exchanges from October 2019.

Epic Systems has announced it facilitated over 221 million patient data exchanges through its Care Everywhere platform in October, a roughly 40 percent increase from the same time last year.

As the country is currently in the midst of what some experts call the second wave of COVID-19, patient data exchange continues to be vital in healthcare. This is a record number of exchanges for the EHR vendor, Epic said, and that level of performance will be necessary as the industry stares down a likely influx of COVID-19 cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts between 690,000 and 1,700,000 COVID-19 cases will be reported during the week ending on December 26.

These rising numbers will continue to push the limits of provider capacities and create a stressful situation for healthcare workers and patients. Since COVID-19 is sometimes forcing patients to travel to unfamiliar hospitals, interoperability and precise patient data exchange are essential to maintain patient safety.

“When our hospitals began to fill up with COVID patients, we had to move patients among facilities to make the best use of our available capabilities and in some cases receive patients from other facilities as well,” David Reis, former chief information officer at Hackensack Meridian Health, said in a statement.

“Care Everywhere allowed health systems in New York and New Jersey to share common patient information seamlessly and in real time to improve the care provided not just to patients with COVID-19, but to all patients.”

Epic utilizes its Care Everywhere interoperability network to allow both Epic users and users of other vendors to know about potential exposure risks, while also sharing patient travel screening information and infection status.

According to the vendor, half the exchanged records are between Epic customers and the other half are on a separate EHR platform.

This list of patient data includes medications, past medical history, allergies, and infections.

“Interoperability will continue to be critical to the pandemic response as vaccines become available,” said Dave Fuhrmann, senior vice president of Interoperability at Epic. “When patients receive care at multiple locations, their providers at each location will know whether they need a dose of a particular vaccine. Patients can download their vaccination information whenever they need it.”

Throughout COVID-19, Epic Systems stepped up and exceeded expectations, according to its customers.

In a July KLAS report, researchers asked healthcare professionals to rate their vendor’s reaction and support to the coronavirus on a nine-point scale. Epic, which was awarded 2020 Best in KLAS, stood above the rest of the EHR vendors, scoring an 8.1.

While Epic customers have high expectations for the vendor, respondents said Epic met or exceeded expectations throughout the past few months.

“Support in the form of dashboards, analytics, weekly upgrades, and constant communication is commonly reported by customers,” wrote the report authors. “Some customers report that Epic teams converged to stand up their temporary hospitals. With a wealth of data, Epic has also taken the unique step of sharing clinical COVID-19 insights through the Epic Health Research Network.”

One respondent recently migrated to Epic’s system, and the customer praised the vendor’s automation process.

”We converted our process to use Epic’s system and to use automation to schedule appointments and automatically screen patients before they even get to the center,” an anonymous Epic customer said. “Because of the efficiency we have gained, we have ramped up the number of patients we can see in 22 a day; we went from seeing 300–400 patients with very manual processes to seeing about 1,000 patients with automation.”

Epic customers reported an overall positive experience during the pandemic.

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