An Epic Tale: How Queen Faulkner Controls Her Realm

Once there was a queen in a castle in Wisconsin. She had brave armies of stout young health IT soldiers at her disposal, and for a time, her armies handled all the engagements her health IT fiefdom encountered in with relative ease.

Far and wide, people heard of her Epic deeds, and all wanted to partake in the tools of her empire. But lo, it grew, Queen Faulkner’s armies no longer sufficed, and her servants trained IT mercenaries to handle the constant demands her kingdom faced.

Over time, so many were her supplicants that the Queen’s good men and women scarce could do the work they set out to do. However, the Queen was loath to train more mercenaries for, she reasoned, “at some point they could control my kingdom, and that must not be!”

So the Queen wrought a strategem — a compromise she thought might satisfy the demands outside her realm. She made herself sure that candidates for certification would need to pass nearly through the head of a needle to win the honor of engaging in Epic battles.

And thus, the Queen gave control to her IT mercenaries, but not enough to let them come together and rebel against her realm.

But in her desire for control, Queen Faulkner had left herself open to other discontents. The hospital monarchs who sought her tools and protection began to demand more soldiers and armament, and engagements began to become free-for-alls.

Yet, as per her design, the certified mercenary companies were, alas, far too small to meet the needs of full-scale engagements. And the Queen’s own troops were neck-deep in IT code and infrastructure, unable to come to the aide of their fellow Epic soldiers.

Woe to the Epic Queen. Her engagements, yea, they will continue, but will hospital monarchs continue to seek her aid?  Perhaps they need to consider that even great empires have limits…

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.


  • Strange. I never hear anything good about Epic. I hear how it is based on an ancient computer language, how its database scheme is equally out of date, how rigid they are, how hard they are to deal with, how expensive… Yet I also hear that they keep getting lots of new installations! Leading to the obvious question – WHY?

  • why? – because right now, there are no other alternatives — yet (that is) but just like any other technology, these systems will evolve ( i want to be part of that evolution process – or at least contribute )

  • I think that some hospitals deep down want to be told what to do, Epic does this. Other vendors make their clients think about how they want the systems to work. Healthcare in general has a lot of difficulty in gaining consensus and making decisions. It also shows there are lots of opportunities when health systems can spend so much money of software systems.

  • I will agree that Epic is indeed written using a rather old language MUMPS, and that its database is very unusual for people who think Access is a real RDBMS, but part of the reason for that is the sheer scalability that comes with working with a giant binary tree. It’s fast, very fast, and when you look at software that runs on a Cache database besides Epic, it’s always the huge enterprise deployments, be it in the healthcare world, or the financial world that seem to use it. Post-relational database architectures have some major advantages, but there are tradeoffs. Still, compared to the hardware requirements for Teradata or Oracle with all the bells and whistles, it’s cheaper and easier to get a Cache system up and running.

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