Around 5,5000 physicians, clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, healthcare industry leaders, and other Epic Software users from around the world descended upon the Verona campus from Aug. 22-24 for the electronic healthcare technology company’s annual Users Group Meeting.
The three-day conference included presentations, breakout discussions, and previews of upcoming software changes, all aimed at addressing the needs of healthcare organizations. It also provides a way for various Epic users to connect and share with one another their individualized knowledge unique to their personal experience with Epic’s myriad software and electronic health record technology.
This year’s theme was Midnight at the Museum and Epic’s founder and CEO attended dressed as an early female pilot, who bore resemblance to Amelia Earhart.
The 5,500 customer attendees was nearly double the number who came to the scaled-down UGM in 2021. The event draws Epic customers internationally from several different countries.
This was the first “normal” UGM since 2019, Epic events and design team member Erika Koch told the Press. 2020 was held virtually, and while they had an in-person 2021 meeting, it saw lighter attendance.
All customer guests and vendors attested to being fully vaccinated for COVID-19, she said.
While Epic streamed Tuesday morning’s general session for customers who weren’t attending in person, for the most part, this year’s conference was an in-person meeting.
“It was good to see everyone and have everyone back,” Koch said, emphasizing the importance of the event to Epic’s customer culture. “Time with our customers is at the core of our culture, so anything that brings them to our home so that we can spend time together is important.”
“Every year customers come to tell other attendees about the lives they’ve saved, quality they’ve improved, or costs they saved,” Koch added. “Then others take those successes and improve on them in future years. It’s very collaborative and iterative.”
The fun of the annual theme is always secondary to the focus on improving healthcare, Koch said, but surprises included a life-size Yangchuanosaurus skeleton and a working DeLorean time machine.
Apart from the theme is an annual focus, and this year it was a focus on innovation, with the latest upgrades to Epic software including MyChart and App Orchard shared.
Faulkner and other Epic leaders discussed some of their latest developments including that Cosmos – a database of de-identified patient electronic healthcare record data for clinical research – is now up to 162 million patients and 5.7 billion de-identified patient encounters, which includes its first international customer contributing data.
Look-alikes was also detailed, it’s a new software program that matches patients with rare symptoms or conditions to similar cases using data from Cosmos. It’s aimed at helping doctors and other providers who work with patients who may have rare disease identify patients with similar symptoms and connect with those patients' physicians to share resources and collaborate on behalf of the patient.
Another Epic development shared last week was an algorithm that will be designed to optimize surgery and specialist surgery schedules, intended to help healthcare systems better use their resources to help lower healthcare costs.
One of Epic’s favorite components to offer during UGM is ‘Meet the Experts,’ which connects its research and development leaders with the customers in their areas of expertise for question-and-answer sessions, Koch said.
While worldwide in scope, Epic always stays close to its roots, with several local vendors on campus during UGM.
“We like to give our guests a little taste of Wisconsin, whether that’s squeaky cheese curds, petting a cow, or the opportunity to buy something interesting from the Mustard Museum,” Koch said.