Michigan researchers to gain in IT makeover

The University of Michigan Health System has decided on the primary-vendor model for a far-reaching, multi-year IT upgrade. The university, working with Epic Systems, intends to continue using its best-of-breed technology tactic. Epic products will replace or augment the existing clinical, research, quality and business applications developed and purchased by the university over two decades.

In textbook fashion, UMHS and Epic are beginning the process by studying process. Over the next few months, staff will analyze clinical and administrative processes that currently rely on information technology or paper and identify how researchers could leverage improved access to UMHS clinical information. One goal is to allow researchers to identify patients who might meet the criteria for clinical studies.

After the process analyses are complete, UMHS and Epic will "transform the way its physicians, nurses, other care providers and administrators use information technology in every U-M hospital, clinic and office," according to an announcement. The process makeover will encompass outpatient clinics and treatment centers, coding and billing operations, scheduling and registration systems, and emergency department. Epic systems will be used "almost exclusively." Plans call for a second contract to convert systems in the hospitals, pharmacies and central medical record operation. Smaller systems used in highly specialized areas are expected to follow beginning mid-decade.

- here's the U-Michigan announcement