Wisconsin company uses technology in the fight against COVID-19

Posted at 10:33 PM, Apr 15, 2020

A Wisconsin company is working with hospital systems around the world to track coronavirus patients and help get critical medical records to field hospitals.

Verona's Epic Systems handles more than 50% of the country's digital medical records. It works with a majority of the large medical systems in the Milwaukee area, facilitating technology that does everything from medical records to telehealth.

One area where Epic has worked to expand capacities during the time of COVID19 is the mobile drive-thru testing sites that have popped up.

"By putting mobile tools in place, it allows a health system to say set up a testing site in a parking lot… With an internet connection, they can access the right patient information. They can quickly set up a tent hospital or a drive-thru lab," says Epic's Vice President of Client Success Eric Helsher.

Much of the technology and software that's being used already exists, but the pandemic has allowed them to test the scalability.

Helsher says, "to extend out the Epic environments to treat those new locations like a new tower that they've built or like a new set of beds that they've added to their facilities."

Epic has worked with officials setting up field hospitals in some of the nation's hardest-hit areas like New York and Chicago, and is currently working in Milwaukee at State Fair Park, a site transforming into a hospital.

The company will also work to continue and track the virus as the world moves beyond the pandemic.

"Continuously developing tools to identify patients at risk, patients who've been tested, who've been diagnosed with a certain disease. Using that to drive public health trends, public surveillance, and monitoring. [It's] something we've actually done for a long time, but COVID is underscoring that and building upon that capability."

Another area that has seen growth is telemedicine or the ability of patients to see their doctor virtually over the internet.

Dr. Chris Mast, M.D. Epic's Vice President of Clinical Informatics, says, "having these tools in place has allowed us to go from a small simmer of video visits over the years as it were, almost overnight to a massive deployment of telehealth."

Epic Systems is based in Verona, Wis. and employs nearly 10,000 people, many of whom are working remotely during the state's "Safer at Home" order.

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