The new Epic Health Research Network, launched this past week by the Verona, Wisconsin-based electronic health record giant, is a communication platform whose goal, according to the company, is “facilitating rapid sharing of new medical knowledge.”
Especially during the COVID-19 public health emergency, Epic – whose EHRs hold the medical information of nearly 50% of U.S. patients – is in a unique position to foster more widespread data and insights about health trends during the pandemic and beyond.
Its EHR data, “collected over decades, spanning millions of patients, could provide clues to help solve medical problems,” officials said.
EHRN.org, incorporated as a public benefit company owned by Epic, contains a number of reports already – most focused on COVID-19 and its impact on the health system.
For instance, a report on delayed cancer screenings – mined from the EHR data of 2.7 million patients at 190 hospitals across 23 states – showed an 86% to 94% decrease in preventive screenings since the pandemic hit, leading, potentially, to adverse outcomes.
In another study, researchers from Ochsner Health describe how they’re doing genetic sequencing on some COVID-19 cases to learn more about how the novel coronavirus is spreading and evolving across Louisiana. A report from Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, explores how it’s using technology to remotely monitor COVID-19 patients at home.
“Healthcare research needs to move faster, especially in times of public health crisis. In light of this need, we make this information available with internal peer review, but without third-party peer review,” said Epic officials in a statement. “It’s important that good data be available sooner, rather than perfect data be available too late.”
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