Whimsical Software

One of my past projects was developing a more effective solution to live patient updates in the labor and delivery ward. During that process, we observed the flow of patient information from one provider to the next, all in two places: pieces of paper scrunched up in the pockets and labcoats of providers, or on Epic’s software.

What does the company behind it look like? Kate Kelly compares it to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory:

In the farm country of southern Wisconsin, 12 miles from Madison, is one of the nation’s biggest tech companies — and almost certainly the quirkiest. The woman who controls it is a septuagenarian coding savant, its campus contains a human-size rabbit hole and an elevator to hell, and in all probability your personal medical records are on servers running its software.

[. . .]

Epic’s software is ubiquitous in doctors’ offices and operating rooms, and companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet regularly hoover up its young engineers. Yet most people outside of the Madison environs, I’d be confident to say, have never heard of the company.

I certainly hadn’t. I cover Wall Street, not health care or technology, and when I came across the privately held Epic this year I was consumed with questions. Who was this publicity-shy yet spectacle-loving C.E.O., and how did her theme-park sensibility coexist with the mundanity of health care billing protocols? Was Epic’s odd culture a magnet for talent and clients, or was it an indulgence that kept the company from growing even bigger? In August, I traveled to Wisconsin to see what this 1,100-acre Midwestern behemoth might be hiding.

Kate Kelly

Dossier

“Willy Wonka and the Medical Software Factory,” by Kate Kelly, December 20, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/business/epic-systems-campus-verona-wisconsin.html

One thought on “Whimsical Software”

  1. Wow! This is really amazing, though I wanted to see more of an expansion on your part. I really loved Ms. Kelly’s analogy because it “hit home!”

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