Epic on Tuesday unveiled a series of vendor relationship programs that will exist in an online gallery called Showroom, replacing the company’s app market that shut down in December.
As part of the strategy, detailed during the company's annual user conference in Verona, Wisconsin, Epic said it has established four programs for third-party vendors: Cornerstone Partners, Partners, Pals and Member Services.
“As the industry changes and more software vendors want to work with us, we’ve needed to define programs that accommodate this,” founder and CEO Judy Faulkner said during the conference.
Faulkner defined Cornerstone Partners as companies that Epic uses significantly in its software; Partners as established market leaders in specific areas; Pals as companies with products in new important areas; and Member Services as companies in established areas that complement Epic's EHR system, such as credit card processors.
Last week, Epic confirmed that generative artificial intelligence company Abridge was one of the first pals while clinical documentation company Nuance and survey software company Press Ganey were the first partners.
During the conference, Faulkner announced digital call center company Talkdesk as a pal and Microsoft and Intersystems as cornerstone partners.
Faulkner said the goal of the programs is to help identify important categories of digital health to assist its health system customers. The relationships between those vendors and Epic are not exclusive—companies may work with other EHR developers and Epic may work with other companies in the same area.
Abridge CEO Dr. Shivdev Rao told Modern Healthcare last week its participation amounted to "an Epic stamp of approval," but the company has distanced itself from that characterization. The idea, though, has been debated among vendors not included in the programs.
Brendon Keeler, head of products at medical claims company Flexpa and a former Epic employee, said the move opens Epic’s software to select developers.
“Yes, it is a tacit stamp of approval, but they're never going to claim it,” Keeler said.
Still, Keeler said the move is not all that different from how other EHR vendors operate.
Augmedix, a clinical documentation company and competitor of Abridge, was not at the conference and isn’t an Epic partner or pal. In an interview, founder Ian Shakil said he didn’t think its exclusion would hurt the business. “I can’t say the same as is necessarily true for a younger upstart in this space or an adjacent space,” he said.
The company’s Showroom app gallery will also include Epic's Connection Hub. It also offers tools for developers including its Open.Epic application programming interface and Vendor Services, which offers additional testing tools.
Epic also announced it would begin implementing generative AI tools for medical coding in May 2024 and creating draft appeal letters in August 2024. The company said physician scheduling functionality would begin rolling out in November 2024.