Epic expands reach among payers, retail disruptors

Despite Epic's dominance in the hospital market, a recent series of moves from the EHR giant indicates that it is also trying to expand its reach among the top payers and retail disruptors in healthcare. 

Nearly 36% of acute care hospitals in the U.S. have Epic EHRs. The company's Payer Platform, which is designed to connect data between payers and providers, is increasing its presence among payer customers. 

"We leverage an established interoperability network and extensive experience supporting payers and providers to help automate data exchange and improve payer-provider collaboration," Epic Vice President Alan Hutchison said in a KLAS Research report. "The growing Payer Platform network includes the seven largest health plans in the country, and it provides them with the opportunity to connect and exchange data with providers caring for 79% of the U.S. population."

While payer customers were largely satisfied with the Payer Platform, some said that Epic's entrance into the payer market was not without its bumps. 

"The payer space is new to Epic, so we educated Epic a lot along the way. We have identified some challenges in the process of clinical document exchanges or with some of the other use cases that are specific to payer needs," an anonymous executive said in the report. "We have had to help Epic move the needle a little bit on those things."

Beyond the payer market, Epic has also inked partnerships with large retail clinics. CVS Health has been using Epic's Care Everywhere Program since 2014. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced CVS to start thinking about interoperability in a different light, as MinuteClinic used MyChart to share test results with patients.

In 2021, Walmart Health also announced that it would be installing Epic at its health centers. The retail giant first rolled out the new Epic EHR at four of its Walmart Health Centers in early 2022. 

"We're excited to power Walmart's vision to bring comprehensive, accessible healthcare to patients across the country," Mr. Hutchison said in a September 2021 Walmart news release. "Across medical, dental and virtual care, patients will have a unified experience—both within Walmart Health clinics and as they move across the nation's healthcare ecosystem."

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