This week has been the annual user group for Epic EHR users, otherwise known as Epic UGM. @VinceKuraitis aptly noted that the Epic user conference had 15k attendees and yet it only produced 188 tweets the first day of the conference. I’m not sure if this is a reflection of Epic users view of social media or Epic users fear of sharing what’s happening. The limited tweets aside, there were still a number of interesting tweets and pictures coming out of the event. Plus, some interesting quotes from the Madison paper I think you’ll enjoy.

And so it begins @EpicUGM #UGM2013 #DeepSpace pic.twitter.com/RyuhIEDNw3

— Ashley Kenneth Allen (@kenny_allen) September 16, 2013

Look at the crowds for registration. I wonder when Epic will outgrow Madison and need to move the event to Las Vegas. We’d certainly welcome them here. Although the local paper said that the event is the second biggest tourism engine in the area (World Dairy Expo beats it out).

It’s like watching an IMAX movie. #DeepSpace is unreal!! #UGM2013 @EpicUGM what a great auditorium. pic.twitter.com/PBBYIGkvql

— Ashley Kenneth Allen (@kenny_allen) September 16, 2013

Deep Space was the theme of the conference and also is the name of the enormous 11,400 seat underground auditorium on Epic’s campus. More pictures of the auditorium below. It’s also worth noting that Judy did the keynote dressed as a Na’vi from the movie “Avatar.”

Now for some tweets with pictures of the auditorium:

View from NEW 10,000+ seat #DeepSpace auditorium at Epic Campus. Will be filled with people for #UGM2013 @EpicUGM pic.twitter.com/26gBeYOqGc

— Ashley Kenneth Allen (@kenny_allen) September 16, 2013

Over 15,000 people here to collaborate for one reason….our patients! #epicugm pic.twitter.com/srmVzcpD3j

— strycnyn (@strycnyn) September 17, 2013

#EpicUGM #DeepSpace pic.twitter.com/MGJvvTTrJq

— KC (@Condiments77) September 18, 2013

15,300 attendees at this years Epic UGM, 297 HC orgs at #epicugm 2013

— Luis Saldana (@lsaldanamd) September 17, 2013

Soon the Epic conference will pass HIMSS on attendance. Not likely, but it is interesting that there were only 297 healthcare organizations. I wonder how many people organizations like Kaiser brought to the event.

#EpicUGM Judy says ONC should pause five years between MU Stages 3 and 4 to evaluate…interesting take.

— Sam VanNorman (@SamVanNorman) September 17, 2013

This is a really interesting tweet. First, it’s interesting that Judy is talking about meaningful use stage 4. Does this mean there will be an MU stage 4? Second, what happened to MU stage 2? I’m pretty sure most aren’t worried much beyond MU stage 2 right now.

The day is near where PATIENTS are the highest volume users if your EHR, or is it already here? #phr #epicugm #patientengagement

— Mary Sirois (@MarySirois) September 18, 2013

This likely deserves a blog post of its own. Although, this comment is really interesting in the context of Epic. Does this mark a fundamental shift in the products that Epic develops?

What I think will be the biggest announcement coming out of Epic UGM 2013 is the new Epic API. While it definitely falls short of what most of us would love to see Epic do with an API, at least it’s a start. The focus of the API seems to all be around getting all of the various health and wellness app data into the EHR. Here’s a good description of who they want to use the Epic API:

Are you a manufacturer of a consumer-facing monitoring device? We have an API for that.

Have you developed a health or wellness-related tracking app or portal? Clinicians need that information.

We’ve designed open.epic to make it gosh-darn simple to integrate the data you collect into your patients’ medical records. Interested?

I believe this will be a great opportunity for many developers. We’ll see how it plays out long term. I’m a little surprised that the Epic API doesn’t include interoperability which Epic is doing more and more. I guess they see it as a separate initiative.

The local newspaper covered the Epic UGM event as well and offered a few other insights into what was said at the conference:

“We’ve just gone over the 51 percent mark. You take care of a little over half of the patients in this country,” Faulkner said. Worldwide, nearly 2.4 percent of the population is covered by electronic health records created by Epic.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing Epic users quote this 51% number a lot more.

Epic, with $1.5 billion in 2012 revenue and 6,800 employees, will keep growing as its customers grow, Faulkner said, adding that clients are loyal. “To us, it’s a lifetime relationship,” she said.

I think Judy might be right for many Epic customers. The lock in to Epic for many of these large organizations is strong.

I guess the 15,300 attendee number is interesting when you think that 6,800 of them could be employees. Although, no doubt it is a really important and interesting event in the healthcare IT world. Judy seems to be softening on media coverage of Epic. It seems like Judy and Epic have decided to start becoming a larger part of the conversation. I wonder if a blogger could attend the event next year.

Source: EpicUGM Insights, Announcements (Epic API), and Pictures