- Google Cloud and Epic, the largest medical software vendor in the U.S. hospital market, are building an offering that will allow clients to run their Epic workloads on Google Cloud, the companies said Monday at the HLTH conference in Las Vegas.
- Google isn’t disclosing the financial terms of the agreement or how many hospital clients using Epic that it expects to move workloads to the cloud, a Google Cloud spokesperson told Healthcare Dive.
- However, New Jersey-based provider Hackensack Meridian Health plans to be one of the first healthcare organizations to host its Epic EHR to Google Cloud. Hackensack CEO Robert Garrett said in a statement that the move will allow the 17-hospital system to use tech like analytics and artificial intelligence more easily while benefiting from the security of the cloud.
Signing a large EHR vendor as a partner allows cloud companies to expand their reach with providers. That’s especially the case for Epic, which holds 33% of the U.S. hospital market, according to KLAS Research.
It’s not Google’s first partnership with a large EHR vendor. Earlier this year, the company announced it was embedding its search and summarization tools within a health record maintained by EHR vendor Meditech, the third-largest vendor among U.S. hospitals.
The partnership is an extension of the IT deal Meditech and Google Cloud signed in late 2019 that made its EHR Expanse one of the first records available through Google’s cloud platform.
The new Epic-Google partnership is a pivot from just a few years ago when Epic decided to no longer pursue integrations with Google Cloud, citing insufficient demand from health system customers.
Epic told customers in early 2020 that it would instead focus on Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, as Google faced a wave of backlash over the ethicality of its data-sharing agreement with hospital chain Ascension.
Google continues to lag in market share for healthcare cloud computing. According to Research and Markets, Google Cloud holds 12% of the market, compared to Microsoft Azure’s 18% and AWS’ 40%.
The tech company lost a bid to provide cloud storage for Cerner, the second-largest digital medical records provider, in 2019, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. Instead, Cerner elected to go with AWS, despite being offered about $250 million in discounts and incentives from Google.
Later that year, Cerner expanded its relationship with Amazon’s cloud provider, designating it a preferred AI and machine-learning provider and migrating its core applications to AWS.
However, following Cerner’s acquisition by database software and cloud systems provider Oracle in June, Oracle management have said they plan to review Cerner’s portfolio and replace as many third-party products with Oracle technology as possible — including moving Cerner from AWS to Oracle’s cloud.
In a bid to nab new customers, Google is increasingly pursuing new integrations and partnerships, including with academic medical center Mayo Clinic and for-profit behemoth HCA, and building up its artificial intelligence and machine-learning offerings.
For example, Google Cloud announced at HLTH on Monday the launch of three new accelerators for its healthcare data engine to help health system customers with value-based care, patient flow management and health equity.