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Scoop: Epic designs version of EHR more accessible to Apple users

Nov 23, 2022
Illustration of a cursor hovering over a health plus icon, about to click "Open" from a drop down menu.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Epic Systems and Apple are coming together with a version of Epic's electronic health record tools that is easier to access on Macs, a source inside Epic has confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Epic and Apple are new bedfellows after a history of differing approaches to health records and data sharing. The efforts also come on the heels of Epic's recently announced deal with Google Cloud, further deepening the electronic health record vendor's reach.

Details: Although the iPhone maker wanted Epic to create a native version of the service for MacOS, Epic instead is simply developing a version of the software that makes it so people using Apple devices don't need another browser, one source tells Axios.

Flashback: Apple last year added a data-sharing component to its own health records service supported by six EHR vendors, including Epic rival Cerner. Epic was not on the list.

  • That comes after Apple in 2020 came out in support of newly instated government rules that would ease health record sharing. Epic opposed them, going so far as to pen a letter of concern to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

State of play: Epic is the dominant EHR vendor in the U.S., with roughly half the population's medical records in some kind of Epic system, per Johns Hopkins.

  • And although more than 250 health care organizations use the service, it can be cumbersome to run on MacOS.

Meanwhile, Epic's partnership with Google Cloud gives health systems another cloud storage option.

  • Google Cloud officials say the platform will offer new tools to build more efficiencies and optimize care, as well as secure their data.

💭 Our thought bubble: After years of divergent takes on health data, the new agreement represents a compromise for both tech companies.

What they're saying: “Epic does have development underway to make it easier for physicians to access Epic on Macs," the person told Axios.

  • "Now that we have released Hyperdrive, our latest client for access to our web EHR, that option will soon be available again on Mac," a spokesperson from Epic told Axios over email. "Apple has been helpful in answering any questions Epic has had."

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.

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