How to Migrate Epic Healthcare Data to Snowflake

March 2, 2023
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epic healthcare data

For most healthcare organizations, Epic software is a known and trusted resource for Electronic Health Records. In the U.S., some 54% of patient records are managed with Epic’s EHR system. Some data even suggests that the more sophisticated a healthcare organization’s analytics model, the more likely it is that they use Epic Systems. Epic reports that 83% of hospitals at stage 7 on the HIMSS analytics maturity model use Epic healthcare data to boost patient record security and overall profitability. The list of institutions on Epic’s client list backs up their claim. Major healthcare organizations like Johns Hopkins, Kaiser Permanente, and Massachusetts General count themselves among the software’s 250 U.S. customers. Epic also holds significant market share among Healthcare Assistant (HCA) companies, supporting the records of more than 250 million patients

For healthcare providers, Epic can be a wonderful tool, but it comes with its own challenges. Namely, interoperability. Combining Epic data with cloud tools like Snowflake can power incredible improvements in outcomes, patient experience, efficiency, and profitability for healthcare companies. Unfortunately, the process of migrating Epic data to Snowflake can present a number of challenges.

If Epic is a foundational mainstay for modern healthcare providers, and the benefits of Snowflake are indispensable to better outcomes, operational interaction between these two technologies is imperative. Learn how Hakkoda clients are simply and efficiently migrating their Epic data to Snowflake. 

Epic Healthcare Data 101: Understanding the Landscape

Epic Systems is a major Electronic Health Records (EHR) software used primarily by large U.S. hospitals and health systems to access, organize, store, and share electronic medical records. And while Epic solves most of an organization’s clinical and billing data problems and optimizes workflows, it won’t solve challenges around data that lives outside of the EHR

Data that lives outside of the EHR, or non-EHR data, includes:

  • Finance
  • Supply chain
  • Cost accounting
  • Staffing/HR
  • Marketing
  • Facilities management
  • Machine-generated data, such as audit logs, devices, and sensors
  • Unstructured data such as doctors’ notes, imaging files, emails, videos, etc.
  • 3rd party data
epic healthcare data

While the EHR data managed through Epic is a crucial piece of a healthcare provider’s care model, it’s still just that…a piece. In the modern healthcare landscape, EHR alone is incomplete, and most providers are looking toward a different kind of view. Patient 360 refers to a single, comprehensive view of an individual’s health that includes both medical data (think test results and previous records) as well as patient reported data (this may include unusual sources like information from an Apple Watch, a genetics test, or any number of non-traditional data points). 

Complementing EHR data with 3rd party sources offers an additional advantage for healthcare providers. The ability to access data that lives outside a provider’s walls but within the continuum of care can radically improve a physician’s understanding of their patient. Imagine if hospital EHR data could be supplemented by data gathered from pharmacies, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, or urgent care clinics. When healthcare organizations are able to integrate their Epic data with the cloud, they can take advantage of Snowflake’s Secure Data Sharing, safely accessing and sharing data from myriad sources. 

The benefits of a more holistic view of a patient’s health are almost painfully obvious–in healthcare, “the more we know” often translates directly into better outcomes for the individual and the provider. As patient 360 becomes an increasingly critical perspective for care, it’s essential that organizations be able to incorporate disparate data sources to supplement and enrich EHR on their own. In the course of only a few years, Snowflake’s cloud technology has taken patient 360 from the realm of “a nice idea,” to something that’s immediately actionable for hospitals and HCA’s. 

Why Is It So Hard to Leverage Epic Healthcare Data in Snowflake?

epic healthcare data

While the use cases for integrating Epic and Snowflake are abundant, healthcare organizations may face an uphill battle as they attempt to realize their patient 360 views. Epic and Snowflake are in the process of evaluating how their technology can and should function together while protecting each business’s intellectual property (IP). At present, providers own the data in Epic, but Epic has IP concerns when it comes to their Clarity & Caboodle data model being migrated into Snowflake – currently an inevitable outcome of standard data integration between Epic and Snowflake. Customers eager to leverage the benefit of Snowflake initiatives and Epic analytics will need to make their own decisions as to what level of transformations the data model requires. Unfortunately, this additional layer of complexity is a significant blocker for many providers, making the process of data integration daunting or too difficult to undertake in the immediate future. 

The good news? Hakkoda’s data team, with deep expertise in both Epic, Snowflake, and the modern healthcare industry, has created a solution for migrating Epic data to Snowflake without complication or compromising of proprietary data models.

How to Migrate Epic Healthcare Data to Snowflake with Hakkoda

For argument’s sake, let’s imagine that Epic provides 60% of the data landscape organizations need to make decisions. They still need to account for the other 40% of non-EHR data that has a tremendous impact on patient outcomes and experience. In order for an organization’s data strategy and architecture to actualize the benefit of this holistic data picture, Hakkoda has created an automated implementation pattern utilizing metadata that integrates Epic EHR data with non-EHR data in Snowflake, so that healthcare information can live entirely in one platform as a single source of truth. This allows organizations to be scalable and nimble enough to handle the variety, volume, and velocity of requests for data across multiple teams and locations. 

epic healthcare data
Snowflake Healthcare Provider Reference Architecture

Hakkoda’s solution for Epic users will work in both the short and the long term, even allowing for handling Epic upgrades (AKA schema drift). It does not replicate Epic’s Clarity & Caboodle models, but still retains the data lineage back to Epic. To eliminate replication, Hakkoda offers healthcare providers multiple options for target data models, from small transformations to Clarity & Caboodle to FHIR and OMOP for interoperability to data models that mirror other Cogito frameworks familiar to your Epic analysts

With exceptional flexibility, Hakkoda’s solution for migrating Epic healthcare data to Snowflake is an incredible value add for organizations, eliminating data silos and solving the problem of size and scope limitations to adding non-EHR data.

Start Powering Innovation with Your Data

At Hakkoda, we’ve helped organizations architect solutions that allow for driving value from Epic and preventing silos. The flexibility of our solution makes it possible for hospitals and HCA’s to resolve an enormous amount of complexity and automate the process of integrating their Epic records with additional data sources inside the Snowflake cloud. 

To learn more about how your organization can take advantage of Epic, Snowflake, and data and analytics innovations in healthcare, get in touch with a Hakkoda data architect.

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