Epic to open its EHR system to customers for app development

Epic Systems is in the midst of launching an app store that will allow third-party companies to develop products in tandem with its EHR system, which is the most commonly used across hospitals and physician practices. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the app store was announced Tuesday at the Wisconsin Innovation Network by Mark […]

Epic Systems is in the midst of launching an app store that will allow third-party companies to develop products in tandem with its EHR system, which is the most commonly used across hospitals and physician practices.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the app store was announced Tuesday at the Wisconsin Innovation Network by Mark Bakken, co-founder and former CEO of Nordic Consulting, which will be working with Epic customers on applications. The store itself will launch in a few weeks.

The hope, Bakken told the paper, is to “open the floodgates” to developing companies, many of which could include nearby companies in Madison filled with former Epic employees.

“We think Epic is big now? This will cement their long-term legacy. It’s exactly the right thing to do,” Bakken told the Journal.

The effort will be officially known as the App Exchange, but Epic spokesman Shawn Kiesau offered few other details.

News of Epic’s app plans comes shortly after a Chilmark report noted that EHR vendors had shown little in the way of mobile innovation that could contribute to enhanced patient engagement, though it did note there were exceptions. Epic would appear to one of them in light of this development. At a minimum, it could allay criticisms that Epic is too-closed of a system and too difficult to share EMRs between one another. The Journal notes:

That may be particularly important as the U.S. Defense Department considers which team should receive a contract worth up to $11 billion over five years to install an electronic health records system for the U.S. military. Epic and IBM have submitted a joint application for that contract, which is expected to be awarded later this year.

Uses for apps on Epic’s EHR system are myriad for both providers and consumers, Bakken told the paper

“Once they officially launch this, then it’ll be very, very easy. It will really open the floodgates for anyone that knows Epic to really get their product on the market quickly and in front of Epic’s customers. So the distribution channel is huge,” Bakken said.