Monday, February 23, 2015

A Trip to Verona, Wisconsin in the winter?

Last week, I traveled to the Midwest with Dave Hynson, GBMC’s Chief Information Officer, Dr. Fred Chan, our Chief Medical Information Officer, Cindy Ellis, the Epic Project Director, and Mary Swarts, the Epic Nurse Champion. We went to Verona, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, to visit the headquarters of Epic Systems Corporation. It was quite a trip.

Epic, the vendor of the new information system that we are about to begin building and implementing, has the reputation of being the company that is out in front of the others in the creation of a medical record that meets the needs of the patient, care providers, and those leading enterprises to deliver care. After meeting Judy Faulkner, principal owner of Epic and the person who started the company, I now can see how Epic got to the point of being the leader in this field. Judy described the origins of the company (1979) when she was helping create databases for clinical faculty members at the University of Wisconsin. People kept telling her that she should start a company. As a mathematician and computer scientist, she really didn’t know how to do this or even if it was a good idea. She took the advice and built a company with the motto: “Do good and have fun.” (Later she added “and make money”). Today, her company employs 8,000 people, 1,500 of the employees are programmers, on a sprawling 1,200 acre campus. 

The company moved to its present location in the early 2000’s and the buildings each have a Disney-esque feel and theme. Unlike most companies that use the conventional wisdom that individual offices for staff are not necessary and therefore build cubicles for their people, Epic has offices for just about everyone under the belief that a quiet space is necessary for people to maximize their productivity. 

We met with many people who explained to us the capabilities of the software and the importance of building it for GBMC in a way that will allow us to get the most out of it. We got a “test drive” of the software and we were all really impressed. When I last cared for patients I was using an electronic record but the capabilities of Epic are very advanced. Our colleagues demonstrated how easy it is to use telemedicine to communicate test results to a patient using their mobile app. They also showed us how notes can be created to maximize the discreet data that is captured for analysis later while allowing the provider to use voice recognition software to minimize typing.

Technology cannot create a vision or change a culture, but, it certainly can accelerate the rate of change toward a vision. I am very excited about implementing Epic so that each patient will only have one record at GBMC and it will make it easier to treat everyone the way we want our own loved ones treated. We have a lot to do between now and October, 2016 when we go live. Thanks to all who will help us get there and beyond!

Join the GBMC 50th Team for the Aids Walk & Run Baltimore on Sun. May 3rd

My good friend, Dr. Sam Ross, President of Bon Secours Hospital, asked me to support a cause that really needs help from the community. While some of us have not been focused on it, the AIDS/HIV epidemic has raged on, especially in the City of Baltimore. There are many undiagnosed cases of this terrible and treatable disease. On Sunday, May 3rd at 8AM there will be a walk and 5K run at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore to raise money for AIDS awareness and testing.
I have started a team called GBMC 50th and I am asking all of my GBMC colleagues to consider coming out and walking or running with me as another fun way to celebrate our 50th Anniversary and give back to our community. If you want to get some exercise that morning or lend financial support (or both!) click on this link and follow the directions under “join a team”:


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