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Stories & Snapshots

From Healthcare to Mapping the Milky Way: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Epic’s Tech

At Epic’s core is technology focused on getting the provider the right information as fast as possible

1. Our database technology, Caché, was made for healthcare. Caché traces its roots to the 1970s, just like databases from Oracle and Microsoft. It evolved from a system called Massachusetts General Hospital Utility Multi-Programming System (affectionately known as MUMPS or M), and was especially developed for the unique data collected in healthcare. Under the ownership of InterSystems, the technology has been substantially enhanced over time. It also acquired a new name, Caché, to recognize the significant transformation as well as its adoption outside of healthcare.

2. Caché serves medical info to providers fast. Each patient chart could have any combination of tens of thousands of data points, from medications to past surgeries. Caché makes quick work of this broad yet sparse data set faster and more reliably than other databases. For the techies, Caché is a NoSQL database. (We did NoSQL before it was cool.)

3. The same technology is used to map stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. Caché’s speedy parsing of sparse and wide data makes it useful outside of healthcare, too. The European Space Union’s Gaia Satellite uses Caché to process tens of thousands of data points per second about the Milky Way Galaxy—specifically, the movement and changes in brightness of billions of stars. It’s helping the ESU create the most precise and comprehensive map of the Milky Way in the universe. (The known universe, at least.)

4. Epic’s founder wrote the original code. Judy Faulkner wrote the original code while working alongside doctors and nurses at the University of Wisconsin. We call that program Chronicles. Judy’s code has since been modified by thousands of developers, who add or update millions of lines each year across all our applications. No original code from Judy is still running.

5. Many programming languages work together to create Epic’s user experience. Caché provides behind-the-scenes flexibility for Epic’s screens. Technologies like Javascript, Typescript, C#, and HTML5 create the interactive screens, vibrant colors, and easy-to-use activities in our applications. Our mobile applications, like MyChart and Haiku for iPhone and Android, or Limerick on the Apple Watch, use iOS and Android native programming environments. Today, we’re able to deploy these front-end applications, as well as Caché, through the cloud.