An Epic Launch for a New Medical Record

Less than a week after Columbia launched a new integrated electronic medical record—Epic—the work that required years of preparation was summed up in the subject line of a congratulatory email: “Thank you! Live, From New York – It’s Epic.”

The email was sent by Donna Lynne, DrPH, CEO of the faculty practice, ColumbiaDoctors, and chief operating officer of Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and George A. “Jack” Cioffi, MD, president of ColumbiaDoctors. “The moment Epic was fully launched across Columbia in the early hours of Feb. 1,” the email said, “represented the culmination of countless hours of planning, training, and preparation.”

The launch began with more than 60,000 patient charts with more charts expected to be added. More than 18,000 health care professionals and staff members are using Epic to document inpatient and ambulatory clinical visits for hospital and professional billing and to provide patients with a single integrated record across all NewYork-Presbyterian sites, Columbia, and Cornell. The new medical record promises to improve the continuity of care among the institutions. All parts of NYP, Cornell, and Columbia will be fully integrated into Epic by Dec. 31, 2021.

Once fully implemented, Columbia, Cornell, and NYP patients will join more than 200 million people worldwide who have an electronic medical record in Epic. The company, which has been in business since 1979, provides electronic medical record software for most of the nation’s leading hospitals and academic medical centers.

The new system will ensure that physicians and other health care professionals have access to patient data where and when they need it to provide care. It gives patients access to a secure portal, called Connect, that allows them to communicate with their physicians and office staff and to manage their overall medical record.