Epic Is Not Being Disrupted

Epic Is Not “Being Disrupted”

A research brief from CB Insights postulates that “Epic Systems – and the broader electronic health records market – is being disrupted across many of its core functions and revenue streams.”  The authors note that “federal legislators [have enacted legislation]… to require that all EHR vendors adopt APIs that will allow patient records to be passed between hospitals more easily,” adding “these new rules help level the playing field for new entrants.” Specifically, the article looks at “how [the authors believe] healthcare technology startups are responding to this opportunity by ramping up the competition with Epic to win end-user workflow and health IT revenue.”

CB Insights Epic AUG2021 v2

Image source: “Unbundling Epic: How the Electronic Health Record Market Is Being Disrupted,” CB Insights, August 2021

Note: for a high-res version of the image above, click here

Why It Matters:

There is no question that many of the startups profiled in the article are doing some genuinely innovative things – and the targeted functionality offered by some of the niche solutions above may very well surpass anything currently available from enterprise EHR vendors today. However, we respectfully disagree with the idea that Epic is “being disrupted.” In fact, we think it is highly unlikely that Epic will be disrupted – at least not any time soon.

One major (and obvious) reason is Epic remains so firmly operationally and financially entrenched at its hospital and health system clients, but another key factor that is often overlooked when the topic of enterprise EHR “disruption” comes up is integrationIt is true that the new rules around APIs will improve the ability for 3rd party applications to pull data from the EHR, but when it comes to competing capabilities, there is no comparison – at least from an integration and workflow perspective – between a niche 3rd party solution connected to the EHR via an API and native functionality from that EHR vendor built on the same database. Bottom line, we think the chart above is a great list of emerging startups worth keeping a close eye on, but for now, they should probably be viewed as complimenting the enterprise EHR market rather than “disrupting” it.


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This article was originally published in Impact Advisors’ digital newsletter: The Impact Advisor 4Q2021.