Epic Systems shows off its new Deep Space auditorium as customers gather for annual meeting

2013-09-18T10:15:00Z 2015-01-06T04:11:43Z Epic Systems shows off its new Deep Space auditorium as customers gather for annual meetingJUDY NEWMAN | Wisconsin State Journal | jdnewman@madison.com | 608-252-6156 madison.com

Deep Space is filled to galactic proportions.

Epic Systems Corp.’s enormous new auditorium — known as Deep Space — made its debut this week as more than 15,000 employees and customers gathered Monday for the Verona electronic health records company’s annual users’ group meeting, one of the area’s biggest tourism engines.

The Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the economic impact of the annual gathering at $6.5 million, second only to the World Dairy Expo.

Deep Space, a five-story, underground auditorium, is believed to be the biggest in Wisconsin with 11,400 seats and room for a future 3,000-seat balcony.

Few spaces were empty Tuesday morning for Epic chief executive Judy Faulkner’s presentation. As she usually does, Faulkner wore a costume reflecting the conference theme, also Deep Space. Dressed as a Na’vi from the movie “Avatar,” Faulkner — who declined to be photographed — wore a striped blue turtleneck sweater and tights, with a brown leather jumper, beads, and pointy, blue ears as she listed Epic’s accomplishments.

“We’ve just gone over the 51 percent mark. You take care of a little over half of the patients in this country,” Faulkner said. Worldwide, nearly 2.4 percent of the population is covered by electronic health records created by Epic.

John Cuningham and Nina Broadhurst of the Cuningham Group, the Minneapolis architectural firm that designed Deep Space, and general contractor Jim Schumacher of J.P. Cullen & Sons, Janesville, told of challenges in creating the unique structure.

Faulkner wanted the huge building to look “invisible,” Cuningham said, as if it were a cave carved into a hill. She also wanted it to be “intimate,” Broadhurst said — an 11,000-seat, fan-shaped auditorium with a 70- by 40-foot screen.

It took 1,400 employees to erect Deep Space, which is bolstered by 33.3 million pounds of steel, Schumacher said.

Epic finished its third set of office buildings, called the Farm Campus, this spring. Next, Faulkner said, are two more sets of office buildings and a cafeteria. The Wizards Academy Campus and King’s Cross Dining Hall are tentatively set for 2015, and the Authors Campus in 2016.

Faulkner outlined plans for increased communication among Epic clients. She also said — perhaps in response to recent articles criticizing the high cost of Epic software — that 86 percent of systems installed in the past two years have come in under budget.

Epic, with $1.5 billion in 2012 revenue and 6,800 employees, will keep growing as its customers grow, Faulkner said, adding that clients are loyal. “To us, it’s a lifetime relationship,” she said.

Employees of 297 health organizations in nine countries are attending the users’ group meeting, which runs through Thursday.

Some, like Beau Dobbs, are first-timers.

“I’m surprised at how big it is. I’ve been to other industry conferences before, but nothing on this scale,” said Dobbs, who uses Epic software programs at Vidant Health in Farmville, N.C.

Aimie Holle is also attending her first Epic conference.

Holle, who handles invoices at MultiCare Health System in Tacoma, Wash., was excited to hear about upcoming technology changes.

“That information is going to be critical to me,” she said.

Jeffery Merritt, a registered nurse and information technology trainer at Mercy health system, St. Louis, said the annual Epic conference helps him learn how other organizations use Epic’s software. For example, one group showed how to document patient rehabilitation; another explained how “smart pumps” that control intravenous medications can plug into Epic’s system.

Merritt said by getting

Epic’s software to track a patient’s vital signs in Mercy’s intensive care units rather than having nurses input data manually, his organization has estimated savings of $1 million a year in labor costs.

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(20) Comments

  1. Madison girl
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    Madison girl - September 19, 2013 2:39 pm
    But I am guessing I will not get an answer as you seemed to just want to insult me and rant. Which is sad b/c you might actually be a damn good nurse who could have used this space to educate people who are reading the comments that have never worked in anything remotely health care related.
  2. Madison girl
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    Madison girl - September 19, 2013 11:22 am
    I recently quit @ nursing home where I was an activity aide for 4 years. So no I have never worked @ a hospital but I worked with cna's and nurses on a daily basis. Not to mention the kitchen staff . I saw how understaffed where I worked was and how hard many of them worked and how it's gotton worse and worse over the course the years.

    So yes I was sincerely curious b/c I have never worked in a hospital. But I think I do have a better understanding then you give me credit for when it comes to how money is terribly misspent.

    Also I am curious is this an Epic problem or just a electronic medical records issue? In another article I have read it talked about one of the other companies that does this same service. I am curious to see if there are the same complaints.

    PS madison girl is a screen name I have had for many years online. I am nearing my 40th bday but it seems silly to change a screen name I have had on other sites for well over a decade.
  3. Madison girl
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    Madison girl - September 19, 2013 8:47 am
    So they got pay raises b/c of Epic software?
  4. Madison girl
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    Madison girl - September 19, 2013 8:45 am
    New to this so not sure how this works. In Madison we know how Epic works and all about the company. Does anyone know about Cerner? Has anyone used their software or know anything about their company. How does it compare?
  5. Madison girl
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    Madison girl - September 19, 2013 8:39 am
    Living here in Madison everyone knows lots about Epic. Cerner the other big EMR's company, has anyone had experience with them and know anything them. How does their product compare to Epic? I would be interested to know some of the pro's and con's of people who have used their software.

  6. bpafree
    Report Abuse
    bpafree - September 18, 2013 3:45 pm
    I agree Lexus.

    It's even weirder when you set foot on campus. I interviewed there once. The place was decked out with crazy decorations and free snacks and drinks. Yet the bathroom faucet was a leaky disaster and the lock on the door didn't work. This was like the main bathroom they were directing potential employees too also. They also tout their practice that every employee gets an office. No cubicles. Yet the offices are smaller than a college dorm room and then some have TWO desks in them. One setup I saw was so bad that one person couldn't get out of the office without the other person also leaving. Odd place. Doing well as a business though.
  7. submission ruins27tFR
    Report Abuse
    submission ruins27tFR - September 18, 2013 12:30 pm
    It would be refreshing to see a comprehensive approach in the discussion of what EPIC supposedly brings to healthcare. Anyone notice the nurse from Mercy Healthcare Systems states EPIC saved them 1 million in labor costs. That means people lost jobs at the bedside, while EPIC hires more and the CEO gets richer. When labor costs are cut at the bedside, hospital administrators make more money. Meriters Pat Grunewald got an 18% raise and Jimmy Woodward got an 11% raise while they piss and moan about giving the nurses a reasonable cost of living increase. The highly bragged about Birthing Center at Meriter just decided to cut back to one certified nursing assistant for 2 floors that have a total of approximately 40 patients. Thanks EPIC. Wake up folks, there is more than meets the eye to electronic charting....it has its own set of problems and flaws.
  8. Norwood44
    Report Abuse
    Norwood44 - September 18, 2013 12:30 pm
    Pretty exciting stuff. Epic. Promega. This is Madison's future. We should be proud of the innovation and ambition exhibited by them.
    Great way to flip UW grads into a vibrant local Madison economy, linked to global markets.
  9. UWW79
    Report Abuse
    UWW79 - September 18, 2013 12:12 pm
    I've been associated with EPIC Systems personnel via professional organizations for the last 5 years. I do not know what their political beliefs / affiliations are and I do not care. I do know they are very professional and know their chosen areas of expertise. Congratulations to EPIC systems being profitable and expanding during these tough economic times !!! P.S. I'm conservative.

  10. JakeWeery
    Report Abuse
    JakeWeery - September 18, 2013 11:57 am
    I'm sorry ObbieZ, these forums are for partisan dung-flinging, straw men arguments and absurd political generalities only.

    Please refrain from all casual and civilized conversation.

    Thank you.
  11. ObbieZ
    Report Abuse
    ObbieZ - September 18, 2013 10:52 am
    I wonder how the sound is in there. Could be an awesome concert venue.
  12. davea
    Report Abuse
    davea - September 18, 2013 10:47 am
    Typical DUMB comment!
  13. Waroroses
    Report Abuse
    Waroroses - September 18, 2013 5:58 am
    Democrat is a verb. With Obama in office we are all getting Democrated.
  14. RichardSRussell
    Report Abuse
    RichardSRussell - September 18, 2013 12:33 am

    Oh, excuse me. Forgot my own rule: Never take seriously anyone who uses "Democrat" as an adjective. Never mind.
  15. River
    Report Abuse
    River - September 18, 2013 12:19 am
  16. iponder
    Report Abuse
    iponder - September 17, 2013 10:12 pm
    Yep its a weird company. One of the few in our state that is adding jobs. Did you know these buildings that are bolstering the construction sector were paid for with cash? Weird. Liberals building our state's economy.
  17. Waroroses
    Report Abuse
    Waroroses - September 17, 2013 9:48 pm
    This is a taxpayer funded Democrat pork ride.
  18. Lexus Peterson
    Report Abuse
    Lexus Peterson - September 17, 2013 9:43 pm
    Is it just me or is that just the weirdest company around. They pretend like they are Microsoft or Apple but they just come off as bizarre and a little creepy.
  19. ArchieBunkersKidBrother
    Report Abuse
    ArchieBunkersKidBrother - September 17, 2013 8:32 pm
    Yes there is, and it saves people money from having to have duplicity from clinic to hospital, etc. BTW - people can have access to their own records now through MyChart which is Epic software; send your doctor or nurse emails and follow up on medications, test results, and appointments. Judy is a billionaire lib, just so you know.
  20. WI_Expat
    Report Abuse
    WI_Expat - September 17, 2013 8:09 pm
    There's plenty of money in keeping track of private health records abd sharing them apparently!!!!

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