Columbia University Medical Center

Epic Migration: Multi-Year Project Will Create a Clear Path Forward

This week, Columbia, Weill Cornell Medicine, and NewYork-Presbyterian announced the signing of a contract with Epic to create a single electronic health record (EHR) system across our three institutions. 

Columbia’s dedication to excellence has galvanized the faculty practice organization to undertake this critical, collaborative, multi-year project to create a unified patient health record and further streamline business functions that directly and indirectly touch our patients.

This initiative will incorporate all facets of a modern healthcare information systems platform, including the integration of registration, scheduling, billing, the medical record, and a patient portal. This undertaking will strengthen Columbia’s foundation in service to our patients, to ensure continued expansion and excellence in clinical care, which are twin pillars of the Dean’s 2020 vision for the medical center.  

Columbia’s project leads are chief medical informatics officer Timothy J. Crimmins, MD, RPVI, and Roe Long, RN, MBA, chief operating officer.  ColumbiaDoctors president George A. “Jack” Cioffi, MD, said “Tim and Roe have worked tirelessly on the faculty’s behalf, to ensure that this move will make it easier to have our faculty do their work. That goal has been at the center of all of our decisions leading up to the move toward Epic. First and foremost, we are here to take care of patients, and we have full confidence that this will help our doctors do just that.”

Patients are “always at the center of our efforts to enhance care, and the quality of our clinical systems at Columbia is a foundational element which must continually be improved,” Cioffi added. Continuity of information, access and patient safety, and care integration across practice and hospital settings depend on this, “just as our patients depend on us to provide the highest level of care,” he said.

While this project incorporates the migration to Epic, it represents more than an information technology implementation, according to chief executive officer Lindsay Graham. “The FPO, all Columbia clinical departments, Cornell, and NYP are working to further align our business practices to bring our patients a more seamless, unified experience.  As we move ahead with additional initiatives to improve the patient experience, we will work collaboratively with all of our partners to create a clear path forward,” he said.

Columbia will implement Epic in 2020 on the Irving campus of Columbia University Medical Center and at all of our clinical locations throughout the region, as NYP implements Epic at its West Campus. The new system will enable the “seamless sharing of information among clinical settings and institutions and will be easier to use for doctors, helping them to do what they do best — take care of patients,” Dr. Crimmins said.

According to ColumbiaDoctors chief operating officer Roe Long, “multiple systems were carefully evaluated over an 18-month period, in concert with our partners, leading to the decision to deploy Epic’s platform.”

Cross-functional teams at Columbia, Cornell, and NYP have been mobilized to orchestrate the many moving parts of this project. “We have already benefitted from Weill Cornell’s 15 years of experience on the Epic system,” she said.

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