This week, our Department of Medical Informatics & Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) announced a new partnership with Epic Systems Corp., developer of the market-leading Epic electronic health record (EHR). The partnership will make the Epic EHR and associated tools available for research and educational purposes to OHSU informatics students and faculty. OHSU is the first academic informatics program to partner with Epic in this manner, in a process that Epic hopes can be exported to its other customers who also have academic informatics programs.
The partnership will entail setting up two laboratory environments at OHSU, one focused on research and the other on education. The research environment will provide access to the source-code level and enable investigation of areas such as usability, data analytics, simulation, interoperability, patient safety, and others. This platform will allow OHSU faculty and students to conduct research with the Epic EHR environment.
The educational environment will provide students in OHSU's biomedical informatics graduate program access to the Epic EHR and associated tools for learning purposes. Students in both OHSU's on-campus and distance-learning programs will be able to pursue coursework based on Epic's state-of-the-art EHR system. Educational activities will include learning to configure screens, implement clinical decision support, generate reports, and perform other front-end and back-end activities.
Every student of informatics who aspires to work professionally in the field should have experience with a state-of-the-art electronic health record system, including back-end functionality. This partnership provides the opportunity for our students, including those in our distance learning program, to obtain such experience. This will not only augment their learning but also make them more competitive for jobs when they graduate.
This project also represents one of the first milestones of OHSU's new Informatics Discovery Lab (IDL), which was described in this blog previously and is led by Aaron Cohen, MD, MS.
Once the laboratory is established, OHSU will provide support to other of Epic's academic customers in establishing a similar laboratory environment for their programs.