Medical records company Epic partners with Apple on a Mac tool

Posted:
in Mac Software
Medical records company Epic Systems has partnered with Apple to bring its electronic health record tools to macOS.

Apple's Health app can handle health records
Apple's Health app can handle health records


Apple wanted Epic to create a native version of the service for macOS, but Epic is reportedly developing a tool that would easier to run than a native app.

"Epic does have development underway to make it easier for physicians to access Epic on Macs," a source Axios in Wednesday's report.

Epic Systems is the largest electronic health records vendor in the United States in the US. According to a report in 2021, over 250 million patients have a medical record held by Epic.

The two companies are compromising after a few years of disagreements. In 2020, Apple came out in support of proposed government policy that would allow patients more accessible access to their medical data, something the company has pioneered with its Apple Health app.

Epic opposed the rules, saying the regulations would be "overly burdensome" on America's health system and "endanger patient privacy."

It's not clear whether Apple will eventually add Epic as a health records provider in the Health app.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    JP234JP234 Posts: 550member
    "Epic opposed the rules, saying the regulations would be "overly burdensome" on America's health system and "endanger patient privacy.""

    Yeah, right. That's the real reason for sure.
    baconstanglolliverFileMakerFellerAlex_V
  • Reply 2 of 9
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,060member
    I dislike dealing with Epic health records systems but I've also seen more Macs and iOS devices being used in medical offices so Epic needs to accept the fact Apple is around and stop ignoring them, making only garbage Windows systems. Epic, and many other Windows-based health records systems, have gotten away with forcing health care providers to use their systems that are as open as Windows wants them to be. Windows is still the least secure and most heavily and easily attacked operating system in the world and they've probably bought off regulators and members of Congress to keep rules and regulations limited so they can't be held responsible for data loss. I wish this article would have included any data loss by Epic systems.
    charles1twokatmewbaconstanglolliverAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    rob53 said:
    I dislike dealing with Epic health records systems but I've also seen more Macs and iOS devices being used in medical offices so Epic needs to accept the fact Apple is around and stop ignoring them, making only garbage Windows systems. Epic, and many other Windows-based health records systems, have gotten away with forcing health care providers to use their systems that are as open as Windows wants them to be. Windows is still the least secure and most heavily and easily attacked operating system in the world and they've probably bought off regulators and members of Congress to keep rules and regulations limited so they can't be held responsible for data loss. I wish this article would have included any data loss by Epic systems.
    Actually, it's worse than that.

    Most enterprises which run Epic have found it's so difficult to keep Windows up to a set maintenance level that they have to run the Epic client on a set of specially maintained virtual desktop servers, and use RDP Windows or thin linux-based clients on user desktops to peer into those virtual clients.
    baconstanglolliverFileMakerFellerAlex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    I'm guessing this just means they are bringing their application replacing new Hyperdrive browser to the Mac.  This only affects those working in healthcare and not John Q Public.  Still good news though.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    My experience with Epic is that they barely talk between instances in different health care systems, you need a new account with each hospital system or practice you deal with, and small shops (OT, PT, home care) can't afford Epic in the first place, so a non-trivial portion of your records have to be hand-carried between providers.  
    Alex_Vwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    Alberta has a very impressive system called Connect Care for hospital staff and it includes a health records app for the public. Guess who is responsible for the back end? Epic!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    I run Epic on my Macs daily using the Citrix app.  It’s the only way my hospital will allow it to happen, and all the Windows users have the same restriction.  Citrix creates a virtual sandbox in which (and a number of other apps) run; the interface looks like a blend of Linux and Windows 95.  The idea is that the program,era don’t have to worry about Windows or MacOS, they just have to worry about Citrix.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    I run Epic on my Macs daily using the Citrix app.  It’s the only way my hospital will allow it to happen, and all the Windows users have the same restriction.  Citrix creates a virtual sandbox in which (and a number of other apps) run; the interface looks like a blend of Linux and Windows 95.  The idea is that the program,era don’t have to worry about Windows or MacOS, they just have to worry about Citrix.
    Citrix is simply allowing multiple client instances to run on a single Windows server, accessed via Remote Desktop Protocol.

    Underlaying that is probably VMWare, virtualizing Windows servers on one or more ginormous Wintel boxes (depending on the scope of your enterprise).

    Of course, this is simply the infrastructure required to run the Epic Client - the server side of Epic is probably running on some kind of Unix cluster under something like AIX.
    edited November 24 FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 9
    jpellino said:
    My experience with Epic is that they barely talk between instances in different health care systems, you need a new account with each hospital system or practice you deal with, and small shops (OT, PT, home care) can't afford Epic in the first place, so a non-trivial portion of your records have to be hand-carried between providers.  
    The standard method for transferring health information electronically is by using a format/protocol known as HL7, which Epic Systems supports. HL7 has been around for about 35 years; think of it like ODBC - every database management system, big or small, supports it to at least some extent. Implementing data transfer via HL7 is not trivial, but it's also not exceptionally hard and there's at least one system (Nextgen Connect, née MIRTH Connect) that offers a free, open source solution.

    What you describe sounds like a set of companies where nobody knows how to configure their systems for interoperability, which is unfortunately not unusual in the medical industry.

    Note that Apple's Health app uses a newer standard, FHIR, which is gaining adoption throughout the industry (especially now that Apple has chosen to use it). FHIR is XML-based, which makes for more human-readable messages than HL7, but from what I've been told it's not as capable as HL7 yet (although I believe that's more due to some of the tools not supporting FHIR yet than any weakness in the implementation).
    muthuk_vanalingamAlex_Vwatto_cobra
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