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Last saved on January 14, 2020

Epic EMR for outpatient medicine

Epic is a commonly used electronic medical record system. It has spread due to deployment to hospitals. It is very useful to hospitals because a large amount of energy has been spent on complying with government mandates. By making health care providers "click" on an immense amount of required buttons, it manages to satisfy government requirements.

Our private practice moved over to Epic on Oct 30, 2019. We did this comply with government mandates. Our previous EMR, Amazing Charts, was faster, cheaper, and (amazingly) more reliable than Epic, but it just couldn't keep up with the ever changing government requirements.

Just in case you were wondering: Epic does NOT make the physicians life easier or more efficient. Epic adds immensely to overhead. Epic makes you (as a physician) sit and type, rather than examine the patient or talk to them face-face, because Epic requires a gigantic amount of input to "get through" the day. The overhead scales with patients. In other words, if you see a lot of patients/day, your time overhead will increase amazingly.

Our suggestions for those moving to Epic, working in an outpatient setting.

  1. Try to be as "light" on Epic as you can. If there is an "Epic way", and some other way to do something, it is usually best to avoid Epic. For example, many physicians do not update the diagnosis list in Epic. This is avoids the arduous process of changing diagnoses, which can of course be just changed right back again by someone else. It works reasonably well to just keep a list of your diagnoses in your note.
  2. Have a backup to Epic. It crashes for several hours every month. Paper is a good backup system. Be sure you can write prescriptions, write orders, and do progress notes, with or without Epic.
  3. Although Epic asks you to deal with long lists of medications, diagnoses, etc. notice that many physicians just ignore this. All you really need in Epic is your note. You are not obligated to update everyone else's lists of diagnoses, medications, or allergies.
  4. Smartphrases (i.e. macros) are a mixed blessing. There are just a few useful ones (like vital signs). Many of them cause more trouble than they are worth.
EPIC EMR for outpatient
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