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Apple and Epic join forces on EHR accessibility project

Epic systems and Apple have found common ground on improving patient access to EHR data on devices running MacOS.
By admin
Nov 29, 2022, 7:00 AM

Epic Systems is reportedly developing a version of its EHR that would be easier to run on Apple devices. Although Apple hasn’t acknowledged the collaboration, Axios says it has confirmation from a “source inside Epic.” The deal appears to be a compromise between the parties after Apple unsuccessfully lobbied Epic to create a native version of its software for MacOS.

Epic holds the largest U.S. hospital market share among EHR vendors (33%), followed by Oracle Cerner (24%) and Meditech (17%), according to KLAS Research.

Apple works with supported EHR vendors and healthcare organizations to make health records available to patients in the Health app on its iPhone devices. Last year, with the release of iOS 15, users could choose to share select Health app data with their doctor and other providers at participating U.S. healthcare organizations. Users select the data categories they want to share and authenticate it using their patient portal credentials.

Apple’s technology encrypts selected data (from sensors, clinical health records, and patient self-reporting), securely uploads it to a designated cloud server, and then downloads and decrypts it for viewing in a web application accessible from inside an EHR’s patient chart. The standards-based SMART on FHIR platform enables provider-facing apps with the EHR system.

Related story: Unified EHR strategy tied to increased delivery of evidence-based care

Apple and Epic seem to have found common ground after previous disagreements on patients’ access to medical information and their ability to share it. Apple supports enhanced flow of clinical data between patients and health systems while Epic has argued that compliance with federal interoperability rules would be overly burdensome and would endanger patient safety.

Many domestic and international healthcare institutions (listed here) enable patients to use Apple’s Health app to directly view data such as immunizations, lab results, medications, and vital signs.

Meanwhile, Epic continues to pursue avenues for sharing patient information. Epic claims that providers using its platform share 100 million records per month—including providers using other systems through the Carequality network of interoperable EHRs. Epic also allows providers without an interoperable EHR to view patient records from an organization using Epic (e.g., for review of a shared patient’s chart, appointment schedule, and order history). Further, a feature in Epic’s MyChart gives patients the ability to share their charts with outside caregivers.

Frank Irving is a Philadelphia-based content writer and communications consultant specializing in healthcare and technology.

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