Medical record
(Photo : Pixabay/ vjohns1580) medical record Epic Systems

The coronavirus pandemic has affected hundreds of hospitals, clinics, and health centers across the United States.

Healthcare professionals relied heavily on the records of the patients to review their medical history so they can provide proper treatment.

Luckily, these records are organized and easy to find online, all thanks to the work of one woman.

Judith R. Faulkner is an American billionaire and the CEO and founder of Epic Systems, a massive healthcare software company situated in Wisconsin.

Born in August 1943, Forbes called her "the most powerful woman in healthcare" in 2013 and was ranked 451 on the 2021 list of the world's billionaires. She is also one of the richest self-made women with a net worth of $6.2 billion.

Also Read: Diabetes, Heart Disease Dominate Health Care Spending In The US

Judith R. Faulkner's Early Life and Career

Faulkner's father was a pharmacist, and her mother was a physician. Their professions inspired her interest in the medical field and health care.

In 1961, she took up mathematics at Dickinson College and received her bachelor's degree. She then went to study at the University of Wisconsin, where she took up computer science.

In 1979, right after graduating, Faulkner partnered up with Dr. John Greist and founded Human Services Computing. The company was later renamed Epic Systems.

The company started in a basement in Madison, Wisconsin, and slowly became one of the top healthcare systems in the United States.

The Development of Epic Systems

Faulkner started the concept of digital medical records in the country. She is an expert programmer but never received proper training. In fact, she taught herself the basics of coding in just one week.

After formulating the data, she launched the company with a $70,000 investment from her family and friends. She had seven other collaborators and served as the first president, given that the company was her idea.

In 1983, Faulkner's partner Dr. John Greist stepped down from Epic's board because of a disagreement with her regarding the company's direction. Greist still holds some of the shares.

Greist wanted to get venture capital to grow faster, yet Faulkner wanted to take things slow as she wants them to be in control.

The direction of Epic was slow and steady. In the late 1980s, the company added billing software and used a graphic user interface for outpatient clinics in the mid-1990s.

Faulkner and Epic System Deals

Epic System's biggest deal came in 2004. The company signed a three-year contract with Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare insurance company, for $4 billion.

Since Faulkner opposed the idea, Epic Systems has never accepted any investment from venture capital or private equity, and it is still labeled as a privately owned company.

Faulkner has stated in an interview with Forbes that she is proud that the company is homegrown. She also added that they never bought another company, and they will never go public.

Currently, Epic Systems have 10,000 employees, and it holds the medical records of more than 200 million Americans. Faulkner owns 43% of Epic Systems and is still working on the company's codes for the US healthcare system to this day.

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Written by Sophie Webster

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