Epic’s research division aims to improve treatments for rare diseases through a large database drawing from millions of patients’ electronic health records.

Panelists representing the Verona-based company discussed Epic’s rapidly growing Cosmos database during a Wisconsin Technology Council luncheon held yesterday in Madison. Dr. Jackie Gerhart, vice president for clinical informatics at Epic, discussed a “Look-Alikes” software application being developed to help guide doctors’ treatment of patients with very rare conditions.

By searching the database containing health information from more than 163 million people, physicians could match their current patient with others who may have the same disease to gain insights, she explained. Without learning any identifying information about those other patients, they could contact their doctors to get advice on testing, medications and more.

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