Partners Healthcare, the state’s largest healthcare provider in Massachusetts is currently in negotiations with Epic Systems to replace it’s existing number of various electronic health record systems that was built in-house with a single EHR solution. The transition is expected to cost over $600 million over 10 years will move Partners in the right direction towards a more integrated, statewide system for sharing medical records. Epic Systems will allow each patient a single up to date record that is accessible by all Partners providers.
The majority of Partners current systems was developed starting in the 1980s at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital before the two institutions formed Partners and when there were no products on the market that could meet the hospitals’ needs. The hospitals have separate but related inpatient systems, distinct from those used by many of their affiliates.
Dr. David Blumenthal, Partners chief health information and innovation officer states, “The result is, when patients move from one place to another, their information often does not follow them in a complete form or as promptly as we’d like. Under the new system, data for a patient who is referred from a primary care office to an orthopedist, has surgery, and later is discharged with home care would be contained “all in the same record and all available in real time.’’ Blumenthal also stated,”the Epic system would make Partners better prepared to share data because it has a uniform interface for outside systems, rather than different “docking stations’’ for data.”[pullquote] “the Epic system would make Partners better prepared to share data because it has a uniform interface for outside systems, rather than different “docking stations’’ for data.”[/pullquote]
The potential move to Epic shows the commitment Partners is making towards information exchange; however, the move to Epic does not come with some key challenges. The transition to a new electronic health record system will not be easy for physicians and others who are already accustomed to their current systems. Physicians who have their own homegrown operation may also lose some of their control being forced to use Epic for a more streamlined system.
For Epic Systems, this would be a huge win that would make them the most dominant EHR vendor in Massachusetts further displaying the domination of Epic in the market.