MANY PATHOLOGISTS and laboratory administrators may be unaware that a company called Epic Systems Corporation is considered by some experts in healthcare informatics to be a disrupter of the status quo.
Based in Verona, Wisconsin, Epic is best known for its acute and ambulatory EMRs (EpicCare), which took the top two spots on the “2009 Best in KLAS Vendors for Software” report. The company has carefully nurtured a reputation for a relatively clean implementation, effective integration with other informatics systems, and ease of use by physicians.
In recent months, Epic has introduced a laboratory information system (LIS) product. It is called “Beaker.” It comes in three versions, which are designed to be specifically functional for three different applications: clinical laboratories, anatomic pathology laboratories and public health laboratories.
Clin Lab and Public Health
“Beaker Clinical Labs” and “Beaker for Public Health Labs” integrate with Epic’s Outreach application. As conjoined programs, they provide a Web-based interface through which external healthcare providers can enter orders and receive results online. Web-based specimen inquiry is another feature.
“Beaker for Anatomic Pathology” is intended for surgical pathology and cytology laboratories. It features barcode-enabled workflows, and when integrated with Beaker Clinical LIS, patient histories can be accessed.
Beaker is a new LIS offering and little is known about it. Some experts believe that Epic, to sustain the effectiveness of its EHR product, is sequentially developing all of the ancillary IT systems required by a hospital.
Ancillary Software Offerings
Some of the ancillary software systems currently offered by Epic include patient management (Resolute), practice management (Resolute/Prelude/Cadence), pharmacy (Willow), and radiology (Radiant). All of these were listed in the 2009 Best in KLAS report.
Laboratory administrators and pathologists will want to learn more about Epic Systems Corporation. Its EHR system is used by a number of leading health-care organizations, of which Kaiser Permanente is the largest. Epic says that, upon completion of current sites, its EHR will by used by 170,000 physicians in the United States. This represents almost 25% of the nation’s physicians.
It is unclear at this point if Epic wants to become a major player in the LIS marketplace. Should it have that goal, it will need to offer a robust, multi-function LIS solution. To accomplish that, it would probably beef up the capabilities of Beaker in each future release.