- University of California (UC) San Diego Health recently transitioned its EHR system to a hosted, cloud-based Epic EHR environment as part of a strategy to move from traditional data storage centers to a more secure, cost-efficient patient medical record repository.
“By creating greater operational efficiencies, we can invest more time and resources in patient care,” said UC Sn Diego Health Associate Chief Information Officer Mark Amey. “UC San Diego Health has deployed a number of strategies to allow its hospitals and clinics to be more agile and respond to demand at a rapid pace within a robust disaster recovery environment.”
With cloud Epic technology, UC San Diego will gain the ability to use cloud computing to store and access EHR data and programs over the internet in a shared, hosted environment instead of a local server or personal computer.
Cloud infrastructure is more resilient and offers heightened data protection that is more reliable than health IT infrastructure dependent on local servers. UC Davis Health stated it intends to fully deploy cloud-based data storage solutions for its health system within the next three years.
“Health systems both large and small are seeking secure and cost-effective approaches to providing EMR capabilities to their users,” said Epic Senior Vice President Stirling Martin. “UC San Diego Health is the first academic health system to make the migration from their own self-hosted Epic infrastructure to Epic’s state-of-the-art cloud hosting environment.”
Using a cloud-based environment will also enable UC San Diego to meet industry standards for safeguarding patient protected health information (PHI). Additionally, the Epic-hosted technology includes periodic cybersecurity updates and patching as well as improved information security controls.
Cloud computing will also allow for more efficient disaster recovery following incidents including data security breaches. Additionally, Epic can more easily focus on application-specific security needs through cloud computing technology.
“This is our first significant milestone in moving key pieces of infrastructure into the cloud to provide ‘always-on’ solutions from anywhere that can be scaled to our growing geographical print,” said UC Irvine Health and UC San Diego Chief Technology Officer Adam Gold. “The cloud approach allows us to better provide innovative technology to support outstanding clinical care, research, and teaching.”
Thus far, the UC San Diego information services team has successfully transferred approximately 10,000 workstations at UC San Diego Health to the cloud-based environment. The information services team has also integrated more than one hundred third-party applications compatible with Epic within the new cloud system.
Presently, UC San Diego headquarters a single EHR system serving UC Riverside Health and several affiliated community practices. The arrangement is an effort to save expenses and improve care coordination among physicians at all participating facilities.
UC San Diego also plans to share its EHR system with UC Irvine Health beginning in November.
Epic also recently kicked off an EHR implementation project with Meritus Health in Maryland expected to take five years.
Meritus Health officials signed the five-year contract with Epic last month after an 18-month health IT company review process during which over 1,000 Meritus Health employees seriously considered six other vendors for the project.
The health system’s EHR selection process included a site visit to a similarly community-based hospital system with 250 to 300 beds to gauge how Epic technology suited the environment.
Expenses for the complete modernization of Meritus Health’s patient health records system as well as all associated labor costs is projected to total $100 million.