Apple has signed a deal to integrate Allscripts' EHR data into its Apple Health Records platform
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Apple will integrate its Health Records platform with many products from electronic health records (EHR) vendor Allscripts, including Sunrise, TouchWorks, and Professional EHR systems, per Healthcare Dive. The deal marks a big move for Apple's push into healthcare, as it will vastly increase the number of provider partners in its stable, as well as patients whose health data will be included in the company's health ecosystem.
Here's what it means: Apple and Allscripts' tie-up is a win-win for the companies, expanding Apple's market penetration and helping Allscripts differentiate from larger competitors.
- Apple's EHR market share is about to bloom, with the Allscripts partnership laying the ground for more big deals in the future. Since launching Apple Health Records in January 2018 with 12 hand-selected provider partners, market share for the company's EHR platform has ballooned to incorporate over 300 provider partners across the US. And that number includes healthcare organizations like Community Health Systems, which operates 100 hospitals. Allscripts has more than 5,100 clients worldwide, making it the fifth largest EHR vendor in the US behind big players in the industry, like Epic and Cerner. Apple's tie-up with Allscripts should see Apple's hospital penetration increase substantially, giving the company a strong foundation to build out future healthcare plays.
- Allscripts lags behind rival EHR vendors, but the company's team-up with Apple may help it gain traction with providers eager for improved interoperability. Allscripts only accounts for 6% of the total EHR market in the US, so it trails behind industry leaders Epic and Cerner that account for a collective 54% of the market. Despite Epic's impressive market share, the EHR giant has struggled with boosting its provider clients' patient engagement: Less than 1% of Epic patients downloaded their EHR data through a mobile device, illustrating a severe lack of engagement with a digital platform that's aimed at improving health transparency and interoperability. More engaged patients could bring better clinical health outcomes: 27% of patients have reported finding an error in their EHR - and errors in medical history can result in costly and dangerous treatment mistakes. It's possible that by better engaging patients with their health data, providers can reduce the risks of administrative errors. And that's one way integrating Allscripts' products with Apple's Health Records could help the EHR vendor lure new provider clients: The vast majority of Health Records users found the platform easy to connect to and use (96%), said it improved their understanding of their health (90%), and were overall satisfied with the product (78%), per a recent survey of UC San Diego patients.
The bigger picture: Apple's big Allscripts deal marks a shift in strategy for the tech giant that could help put its interoperable EHR platform in the hands of more care providers.
Apple has previously locked in EHR partnerships on a hospital-by-hospital basis, but its Allscripts partnership could open new doors. Tying up with Allscripts could help Apple integrate with other large EHR vendors in the future.
It's long been rumored that the consumer tech behemoth was interested in acquiring Epic to gobble up EHR market share and solidify its place in the healthcare industry. And while that's still a possibility, it may make more sense for Apple to avoid the complicated process of building and maintaining unique EHR products. We could see Apple pursue partnerships with other EHR vendors down the line.
And providers are in need of an EHR platform that can break down interoperability barriers. Rather than acquire an EHR vendor like Epic, Apple may attempt to position Health Records as a kind of connective tissue for improving EHR interoperability instead: Over 80% of hospitals have EHRs built for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources - a data standard that's intended to improve development speeds for EHR apps and improve shareability of health data between systems - yet only 20% of health systems use EHR data from outside sources.
That's a far cry from the seamless, shareable future of health data that providers were promised. Having a single platform, whether that's Apple's Health Records or something else, that's capable of collecting, aggregating, and sharing patient data from a wide variety of sources could bring the industry closer to rapid health data exchange.
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