Apple, Epic team up for mobile EHR pilot

By: Brian Dolan | Oct 14, 2009        

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MiM iPhone App“The hottest company in the electronic medical records industry is a secretive Wisconsin outfit called Epic Systems,” a recent Forbes article explained. “It does little marketing or advertising, shuns acquisitions, never issues press releases and tries to stay out of the headlines.”

An EMR company with a penchant for the secretive? No wonder Apple has teamed up with Epic Systems to increase its foray into the healthcare IT space. Here’s another reason: “Yet with a reputation for customer service and software that is more user-friendly than most, Epic has snagged contracts with famous places like the Cleveland Clinic and University of Chicago Medical Center, the big HMO Kaiser Permanente and Group Health Cooperative in Seattle,” Forbes reported. Epic has won about 40 percent of the new contracts for EHRs at major hospitals, according to one estimate from research firm Klas Enterprises.

It’s little wonder then that Wall Street Journal has been tracking the pilots that Apple and Epic have been quietly conducting: “Last month, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, in Palo Alto, Calif., started a trial with Apple and Epic Systems … to test software that will let medical staff access patient charts on Apple’s iPhone,” the WSJ reported.

Stanford told the newspaper that it is currently investigating ways to use iPhones to reduces errors and increase patient care as patients move from one doctor to the next.

iPhone app developers and other companies leveraging the ever popular Apple smartphone have been conducting pilots in care facilities throughout the country, but this is the first we heard that Apple, itself, is involved. We hear from other sources that this could be the beginning of a bigger effort on Apple’s part to capitalize on the iPhones’ growing popularity with healthcare workers. What’s beyond mobile access to patients’ charts? Stay tuned to find out.

For more on Epic Systems: Read this Forbes article.
For more on Apple and Epic’s pilot: Check out this WSJ article.

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  • Steve

    Shouldn’t Epic be working on updating their 10-year old (obsolete) client server software rather than building iPhone apps? We have several thousand clinical staff stuggling each day with their legacy client software. The iPhone apps are great, but Epic is not doing their part or taking responsibility for improving overall clinical efficiency and helping to lower the cost of healthcare. The iPhone apps will help some, but there continue to be serious prioritization challenges with the advancement of the overall Epic application suite.

  • Anonymous

    @Steve – What do you think drives new sales for Epic? Cleaning up bugs and clunky workflows or building a slick iPhone App?

  • Jay Portner

    Accessing patient medical records on iPhone!!!! Apple iPhone is full of security holes. Why don’t you just post medical records on Facebook…

  • Anonymous

    Steve, obviously you don’t use an updated version of Epic’s software. There have been several new releases in the past 10 years and they have made great strides in making the software more efficient, user-friendly, and fun to use. It’s not like one version came out 10 years ago and there has been nothing new since then.

  • HandyMan

    10 years old? Try 25 year-old 2-tiered architecture. Epic software uses VB6 and will probably never be able to move off that aging platform. They have not yet announced how they will do it. Too many bugs to fix to do anything else.

  • jiminee

    “The survey indicated over 40 percent of respondents are either “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their quality of life in relation to the demands of the profession. Anecdotal responses from these physicians make a compelling case that non-clinical activities like excessive documentation, redundant and unnecessary administrative duties, pressure to implement costly electronic medical records software and required reporting to multiple entities with little to no standardization—which are mandated by various government and private constituencies—are key factors contributing to the declining supply of physicians and the rising cost of medical services. “

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  • Rob

    I would be nice to see how the pilots have been going. Anybody have an update?

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