box10.gif (1299 bytes)







Electronic Medical Records

An Epic Partnership, with repercussions for Canada

Royal Philips Electronics and Epic Systems Corp., of Madison, Wis., have signed an agreement to provide enterprise software, medical imaging and monitoring IT solutions that will integrate patient information enterprise-wide. This cooperative agreement combines Epic's strengths in patient-centric, enterprise-wide healthcare information systems with Philips' strengths in medical imaging, PACS, and patient monitoring technology.

Epic Systems is a major developer of Electronic Patient Record software in the United States - last year, for example, it won a contract to supply EPR software to Kaiser Permanente, the largest non-profit HMO in the United States. However, we haven't heard too much about them in Canada. That may soon change, commented a source at the Canadian office of Philips, in Markham, Ont.

For Philips, the alliance is a move that fills in a missing piece of the jig-saw puzzle - the company has acquired all kinds of vendors in the past few years, including advanced CT, ultrasound, patient monitoring and even PET imaging equipment. But it has been missing a major component - the enterprise-wide, electronic patient record.

Lately, Philips has been winning radiology and PACS contracts across Canada - including a big PACS contract in with Ontario's NORTH tele-radiology network. It now has a partner in Epic that can supply the EPR.

The alliance will integrate medical equipment with enterprise software across departments, including at the point of care and will offer the next level of clinical benefits. This includes a single process for order-entry and medication administration that will reduce the potential for errors.

Comprehensive management of a patient from diagnosis through treatment will be driven by a single patient record database across-the-healthcare-continuum.

Epic will exclusively continue to deliver enterprise healthcare IT products to its traditional market of large healthcare organizations, academic medical centers, and children's healthcare systems. Philips will market healthcare IT products, powered by Epic software, as part of its Vequion family.

The agreement will continue to allow each company to develop and support interfaces based on open standards with other suppliers that meet their existing and future customer needs.

"This drives healthcare integration to a higher level and is the next logical step for Epic," said Judith R. Faulkner, president and CEO of Epic. "By dissolving the boundaries between monitoring, imaging, and information technologies, we will be able to deliver systems that provide better care and easier workflow. We've always wanted to be able to respond to healthcare organizations outside our traditional market and we're glad there is now a solution for them."

"Our customers are looking for more than new technologies, they are looking for IT solutions that can share patient information throughout the hospital consistently," said Jouko Karvinen, president and CEO, Philips Medical Systems. "We are delighted to integrate a new version of Epic's industry leading software into our Vequion portfolio. This will bring a solid, robust Philips solution to more hospitals and clinics worldwide."

Products from both Epic and Philips are in use at leading healthcare facilities, including Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, and the Geisinger Health System in central Pennsylvania.

"The partnership between Epic and Philips really brings an opportunity to improve the overall quality in the practice of medicine by delivering information to clinicians when they need it and where they need it. That ability will connect the clinical specialty departments with their colleagues across the institution," said Martin Harris, CIO, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

"We believe that the Epic-Philips partnership will put Epic's high-quality software products within reach of more small and mid-sized organizations due to Philips' market position," said Frank Richards, CIO Geisinger Health System.

"This should help expand the overall adoption of Electronic Medical Records, which have been cited as important tools for promoting patient safety." The first integrated solutions will be introduced late 2004.