- Epic announced it will this month release a new functionality for healthcare organizations to interact and work with patient data in an EHR, as opposed to just sharing data across organizations.
- The platform, called One Virtual System Worldwide, includes the ability to book patients directly into a provider's schedule and search patient data across organizations and across notes and documents, including free text.
- The Verona, Wisconsin-based company is already working on bringing a duplicate clinician order alert system into future functionality.
Legacy EHR vendors, staring down increased demand for interoperability, are remixing their products to keep with the times and customer needs.
Epic's new functionality contains three components with whimsical names: Come Together (for data gathering), Happy Together (data presentation) and Working Together (for acting with the patient data).
The latest effort builds on Epic's other recent platform updates addressing interoperability. In September, the company launched Share Everywhere, allowing patients to grant health data access to providers outside their network.
Epic is betting that patients will get on board. MyChart will soon reach 68 million patients with lifetime accounts, Sean Bina, vice president of access applications at Epic, told Healthcare Dive just after Share Everywhere was announced. Epic customers already exchange more than 2.3 million patient records per day.
Also, the medical record market is moving toward mobility, albeit slowly. In January, Apple announced a test version of a personal health record for iPhones. The product could prove to be the ultimate testing ground for PHR products, which historically have not fared well.
Whether Apple's product is a success or not, clearly the healthcare industry is grappling with the fluid movement of health data. And it's a sign of the times in an increasingly consumer-minded healthcare ecosystem.
Look no further than Epic's press release for another totem of change. The company is now referring to itself as the creator of a "comprehensive health record and interoperability network."
“The EHR is so last year,” Epic CEO Judy Faulkner said in September.
Epic expects adding tools to its product for both patients and clinicians can attract more users.
The company isn't the only vendor making moves. Athenahealth, for example, has also added a calendar feature to its core product line. EClinicalWorks is rolling out a virtual assistant.
These add-ons are a part of improving product functionality to build customer loyalty and find new revenue streams. But the features may be necessary as healthcare becomes more networked and new competitors enter the market.