Epic Builds Lab Installations At Oregon University

Epic Systems has agreed to build two lab installations of its EpicCare EMR at the Oregon Health & Science University, one to be used for medical informatics education, and the other giving the school access its source code on the research side, reports Healthcare IT News.

Though the school’s OHSU Healthcare system already runs EpicCare for its hospitals and clinics, students and teachers have had to rely on a basic installation of the open-source VistA system for OSHU’s EMR laboratory course.

According to HIN, this is Epic’s first partnership with an academic informatics program, and potentially an important turning point for the company, which has conducted research and development almost exclusively on its Verona, Wis. campus. (It does release its source code to commercial customers.) And the agreement didn’t come easily; In fact, the school spent several years persuading Epic to participate before it agreed to commit to an academic partnership, Healthcare IT News said.

In a press statement, OSHU notes that the EpicCare research environment should allow students to delve into usability, data analytics, simulation, interoperability,  patient safety and more. The school also expects to prepare prototypes of solutions to to real-world healthcare problems.

Students in both OHSU’s on-campus and distance learning programs will pursue coursework based on the Epic EMR, with classes using the live Epic environment beginning March 2014. Work students will undertake include learning to configure screens, implementing clinical decision support and generating reports.

While this isn’t quite the same thing, this agreement brings to mind a blog item by John in which he describes how prospective programmer hires at Elation are required to shadow a physician as part of their hiring process. In both cases, the people who will be working with the software are actually getting an idea of how the product is used in the field before they’re out serving commercial clients. Sadly, that’s still rare.

I think this will ultimately be a win for both Epic and OSHU. Epic will get a fresh set of insights into its product, and students will be prepared for a real world in which Epic plays a major part.

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.


  • You’ve touched on one of the biggest problems at least in the ONC training programs; the only EHR students see is VistA. A big reason why completing this training doesn’t generally lead to ‘appropriate’ employment. Plus the way EPIC makes it so hard to get trained in their product doesn’t help either.

    IMHO, we need training programs for existing IT professionals to teach them about HealthIT and then give them a strong intro into several EHRs, including EPIC and other big ones, with good exposure both to hospital centric and practice centric systems. Followed up by internships with local institutions. Until this happens, there will continue to be shortages of HealthIT people even while many IT pros go without work.

  • The legal issue over Intellectual Property is why Epic and likely other EMRs will not allow general access to or screen shots of or training on the system unless it is training a health professional user to chart patient care details or for work requiring build skills within the system.

  • That makes no sense to me. I’m not trying to steal their secrets or build my own EHR from scratch; I just want to learn how to use theirs without having to already have a job doing EHR work on EPIC so I can get trained so I can get a job.

    I’ve worked in IT, mostly financial, about 30 years. I have the ONC training. But hospitals and others won’t hire me because I don’t have experience (in the EHR of their choice, or others), and I can’t experience because no one will hire me. Yet hospitals and others are crying that they don’t have enough staff.

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