Frequently Asked Questions

Why EpicTogether?

Columbia is rightfully world-renowned for its clinical excellence and the constant advancement of the science of medicine. The marriage of science and technology, embodied in our initiative to deploy a state-of-the art healthcare information technology platform, provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to completely transform our delivery of care and service to our patients.

By aligning clinical and health IT operations across Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Weill Cornell Medicine, we hope to improve patient safety and enhance the patient experience by:

  • Allowing a seamless flow of critical information to promote best decision making
  • Improving patient outcomes and satisfaction
  • Increasing practice efficiency and physician satisfaction
  • Reducing redundancy

Why did we choose Epic?

One of the key benefits of Epic is that it allows all inpatient and outpatient facilities of Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine, and all other NYP facilities use one common platform. After a thorough vetting process, we are confident that the transition to Epic will create improved efficiencies, greater collaboration, and promote high-quality care across all care settings. Learn more about Epic.

Who made the decision to move to Epic?

Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Weill Cornell Medicine identified the immense opportunity provided by a transition to an integrated platform. An extensive review of potential systems was conducted, leading to the joint decision to move to Epic. The Columbia University Board of Trustees approved the decision, along with the boards of our partner institutions. Learn more about Epic.

When will Epic be implemented?

The project's kickoff took place in January of 2018, with Columbia going live in February, 2020. View our timeline for specific information about the implementation process.

How will the implementation of the Epic platform affect our patients?

The implementation of the Epic platform will transformatively advance our delivery of patient care and service. Being on a single system will improve coordination of care and sharing across institutions and care delivery settings, and will lead to improved outcomes for patients. A single record will translate into a more unified experience for patients, with one registration process and a unified patient portal.

How will the implementation of the Epic platform affect employees?

Our transition to Epic will impact all employees of Columbia in some way. While some of our employees have had some experience with Epic in other settings, it will still be a significant change. It is the responsibility of each and every employee to ensure the success of this implementation so that we can meet our overall goal of delivering the highest levels of care and service to our patients. All of our employees will receive training and the necessary tools to prepare for our transition to Epic.

What kind of education or training will be offered to system users?

A comprehensive training program will be developed to ensure that all users have the necessary knowledge and skill for a successful transition. After completing training, employees should become comfortable with the new system and appreciate how it can make their roles easier and enhance patient care. More information about training schedules will be provided closer to the go-live date.

Will the new system work with our current systems?

Epic will replace a number of systems, including the outpatient and inpatient electronic medical record and practice management systems at Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian. We are still determining which of the many smaller systems will be replaced by Epic's integrated platform of clinical and business functions. Epic's single system will help us realize economies of efficiency and scale as well as our ultimate goal of enhancing the patient experience and improving patient care and safety.

What will happen to our current patient records?

Decisions still have to be made on how best to preserve the legacy clinical and financial data, which is important for continuity of care, billing, research, and other activities. Additionally, preparing our existing electronic medical record and practice management systems will be an important part of the pre-rollout process.

What is the Epic Transformation Action Committee (ETAC)?

The ETAC provides oversight in change management and organizational decisions during migration to the Epic platform. It replaces its precursor, the Executive Readiness Advisory Committee (ERAC), a group which was launched prior to the migration project to establish a project structure. Visit the Columbia Governance page to learn more about ERAC, its workgroups and other committees involved in EpicTogether.

What is the Executive Readiness Advisory Committee (ERAC)?

The ERAC was formed as the governing structure to coordinate organizational decisions regarding the new platform. The ERAC was replaced by the Epic Transformation Action Committee (ETAC) in March 2018. Visit the Columbia Governance page to learn more about ETAC, its workgroups and other committees involved in EpicTogether.

How will this change impact the revenue cycle?

We are cognizant of the potential for revenue cycle impacts and will assess and work to mitigate all potential downstream effects. Several steering committees are dedicated to addressing potential revenue cycle impacts.

Will any current initiatives be impacted by EpicTogether?

As we move down the road to Epic, we will need to balance our current needs with our vision for the future. Current initiatives will need to be reassessed on a case-by-case basis. For example, we will need to consider whether an initiative will work with Epic or if we need to shift course. Some projects may be deemed unnecessary because Epic already has the desired functionality. As we move closer to go live, we may need to put initiatives on hold to focus efforts on implementing Epic.

How will I keep informed about the progress of EpicTogether?

The best place to get information is through this website. The Communications Workgroup will be continually updating this site to ensure you have the most up-to-date information on EpicTogether.

How do I learn more about the Epic platform?

To learn more about the Epic platform, access Epic’s UserWeb. The UserWeb provides resources, tools, discussion forums, and other information about Epic. Any CUMC employee can create an account with his or her CUMC email address. Learn more about creating an account on the Supplementary Materials page.

How do I get more involved?

Contact your supervisor or manager and let them know that you are ready to help enhance the patient experience and improve care and safety with our new integrated clinical and financial systems. We are currently working with the departments to help to create the infrastructure needed for change and improvement.

Is there a research module in Epic?

While there is no separate Epic module for research, research workflows are built into the Epic platform. These workflows include:

  • Enrolling a patient in a study during a visit and linking the visit to the study
  • Associating orders or encounters with a research study
  • Creating special research orders or treatment plans
  • Creating reports that include all studies or individual reports for each study
  • Releasing information to study monitors

Ensuring the academic mission is supported by our new platform has been and will continue to be a key driver of this process. Our tripartite governance structure includes a workgroup dedicated to supporting the education and research missions. Epic is in use at 19 of the top 20 academic medical centers in the country and we have confidence that they will support our teaching, research, and clinical care needs. 

With Epic, will data be shared across institutions for research purposes?

Columbia, NewYork-Presbyterian, and Cornell have a signed data-sharing agreement. Under that agreement, all research queries for clinical data, involving Epic or otherwise, require permission from the Tripartite Request Assessment Committee (TRAC), which is co-managed by the three organizations. TRAC verifies that the researcher has appropriate institutional review board (IRB) approval for the requested data. Any data request that crosses campuses requires approval from both schools’ IRBs, which, in turn, requires the participation of a faculty member from the corresponding institution. Once approved, TRAC forwards the request to the appropriate database group, which can then state whether there are restrictions on the data (e.g., restricted to one campus).

I'd like to give feedback or ask questions. Is there an easy way to communicate with leadership about Epic Together?

Feedback is very important to us. Please contact us through the online form and you will receive a response within two to three business days.