Apple, Epic team up for mobile EHR pilot

By Brian Dolan

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.