Verona-based healthcare software developer Epic Systems has opened a COVID-19 vaccine clinic to gradually get its 10,000 employees back into the office.
More than half of Epic staff are still working from home amid the pandemic, leaving the 1,100-acre campus quieter than it’s been for its 15-year residence in the City of Verona. The clinic, once it opens, will allow employees to get COVID-19 shots on company property, Channel 3000 first reported on March 17, moving along the eventual return.
The state Department of Health Services gave the go-ahead for the clinic to operate because its the company’s employees can be considered essential workers.
Vaccinations began at Epic on Wednesday, March 17th. Its onsite vaccination provider received approval from DHS a few days prior to beginning vaccinations, Epic’s public relations coordinator Ashley Gibson told the Press on March 23.
And in addition to its own clinic, the company’s software is supporting another 100 community based mass-vaccination locations across the country, according to a Feb. 15 company news release.
With almost all of Epic’s employees eligible to receive the vaccine under priority group 1b as non-essential healthcare workers, staff working in hospitals and health clinics will take priority over those working from home, Epic’s physician on clinical informatics Jacqueline Gerhart told Channel3000. Each employee’s age and role within the company will also affect when they get innoculated, she said.
Staff will not be required to get the vaccine by the privately-held company, but Epic is recommending they do, Gerhart said. VaxPro, a Wisconsin-based licensed vaccinator, is partnering with Epic to administer the shots, according to the news story.
The company has still not determined an official return date to campus for employees, Gerhart said.
Last summer, some Epic staff objected when chief executive officer Judy Faulkner said all employees would be required to return to the campus by Sept. 21, the Press reported last August. After a small proportion of employees decried that return plan, according to an employee-circulated survey acquired by the Cap Times, Epic reversed course one week later.
In addition to providing shots to its employees, Epic is also helping to support efforts to get the greater public inoculated, the Feb. 15 news release states.
Epic develops and maintains software being used by hospitals and vaccine clinics across the country. Its MyChart program has been used to assist people with signing up for vaccination appointments.
Its software is also being used to send invitations to eligible people when it’s time to schedule, support outreach to priority populations and to power a mobile app at mass vaccination sites.
Between mass vaccination sites and traditional clinical settings, Epic software is being used to administer approximately 500,000 vaccinations daily, the news release said.
The software also supports automatic reporting to state public health departments, which in turn communicate with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Most of those sites were created in response to President Biden’s Jan. 21 COVID-19 vaccination strategy that called for “as many venues as needed for people to be vaccinated,” the release states.
That meant Epic’s 100-site milestone was reached in less than a month, the release said, and the company planned to add up to 100 additional sites by mid-March.
“We are proud to help the health systems supporting the national goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the Administration’s first 100 days,” Epic founder Judy Faulkner said in the news release. “Doing what often takes months, health systems have moved in a matter of days and weeks to set up locations with the technology needed to conduct mass vaccinations.”