Epic’s Success in the Hospital EHR Market

I took Katherine’s post about Epic Being a Victim of Its Own Success and posted it on Google Plus to see what kind of conversation would happen (Note: You can find me on Google Plus here). Turns out, it’s already generated 15 responses with a bunch of interesting points of view.

Dan Munro just left the following summary of Epic’s success that I thought was definitely worth sharing on this site since it was thoughtful and useful to consider.

1) The KP deal (started in 2003) is estimated to run $4B over 10yrs
2) Kent Gale, president of KLAS Enterprises, a research firm known in healthcare specifically for its customer surveys said “…there’s a huge gap between Epic and the other vendors. That is probably the biggest differentiator. They are able to keep their commitments better.”
3) Epic ranked No. 1 in seven out of 20 categories in one of KLAS’ most recent survey (and they don’t sell products for several of the categories).
4) “They have a reputation for doing the right things,” said Thomas Handler, a physician and research director at Gartner.
5) Founded in 1979 with an initial investment of $70,000, the company now is conservatively estimated by Wall Street analysts to be worth $1.2 billion (2008).
6) Epic has never done an acquisition, has no debt and has been known to turn away business.
7) The company historically has hired only 2% of all applicants.
8) Epic receives about 40,000 to 50,000 applications/year.
9) Epic’s software enabled Kaiser, the country’s largest health system (outside of VA?), to confirm that Vioxx increased the risk of blood clots, leading to the prescription painkiller being pulled from the market.
10) The company rarely negotiates on price. There is one exception: It has been known to give breaks, such as waiving its annual maintenance fee, to struggling hospitals.

Certainly Epic has been doing very very well. I’m not sure anyone would argue against that.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Our internal medicine office is now in the 3rd week of “Go Live” and it’s been quite an experience. After an initial 10 days of support by the “redshirts” (who varied widely in their ability to help) we have since been left largely to fend for ourselves. I did attend all of the training classes that were offered but I remain inept in my ability to see patients without having to aks for assistance. I am supposed to be “back to my regular schedule” in another 3 weeks – there is no chance that will happen. Much of my time is spent with abstracting information from the paper charts into the computer system. This is taking 10-15 minutes per chart (the information is then entered into the system by my assistant) and I struggle to keep up with that task and stil see patients. Our front desk is also struggling with the task of entering insurance information into the system. As of today, they can support our 10 doctor office with 20 patients per day. This is no where near our previous capacity. In all fairness, one day the abstractions will be complete and the front desk will also be caught up but I expect this struggle to continue for another 3 months. But what really bothers me is that during that time I will have had little time to learn more about a system that is supposed to have made my life easier. So far it has done nothing but make me dread getting to work (at 5:30 AM) and struggling to get through a system that I do not really understand and have no on-site support from Epic. If you are in a new “Go Live” experience, I hope that you are doing better than I am.

  • One correction. Our front desk is able to enter 20 patients per hour, not per day as in my first post.

  • Kevin,
    My heart definitely feels for you. The transition can be tough. Sounds like one of the hardest parts you describe is getting the old paper charts into the EMR. There are companies you can pay to do this. They’ll do it much faster and likely more accurate than doing it on your own. You might want to consider the expense as opposed to the 3 months of heartache. Many will even do the clinical data abstraction along with chart scanning.

  • EPIC is doing extremely well; but I dont think this list accurately gets to exactly why. For years, best of breed systems seemed to be the order of the day for the simple reason that there wasnt a vendor who had a workable, complete system; arguably, the departmental diversity within a hospital system makes it a daunting, if not virtually impossible task. The existence of a number of very successful HL7 interface engines points to this. EPIC does do it all, and is really the first(only?) one to do it WELL; therin lies its appeal. The fact is that integrating a number of disparate systems is not a simple task, and is prone to a lot of problems. In fact, Im sure that more than a few hospitals went the EPIC direction for that reason alone. When you pair this with EPICs heavy-handed control of its system, you wind up with a comparatively problem-free product. (They basically just stole Apples concept here. Why are Apple products considered so stable compared with PCs? Simple. Apples software is engineered for a strictly defined set of hardware, whereas PCs are expected to deal with cheap, sometimes downright shoddy hardware that the software engineers at Microsoft dont know anything about.) Having dealt with all sorts of different EMR environments over the years, I am willing to say with a fair amount of confidence that these 2 reasons represent the vast majority of success that EPIC is enjoying.

  • Nice analysis Doc. It’s also the reason that like Apple, many think that EPIC will have problems long term. It’s a great comparison really.

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