Epic to lower App Orchard fees: 5 notes

Epic plans to lower fees for developers participating in its App Orchard, according to the Politico Morning eHealth newsletter.

Here are five things to know about the change:

1. Epic launched its App Orchard in 2017 as an online marketplace for third-party developers to showcase pre-approved reporting, visualization and content apps that run on Epic's software infrastructure. Epic also provides developers with testing tools and technical support through the App Orchard program.

2. Some developers have expressed concern that fees to participate in the app store are too steep. Rick Freeman, CEO of Interopion, told Politico earlier this year that a family planning questionnaire app he developed for HHS' Office of Population Health could have cost up to $750,000 to run on Epic for one year.

Mr. Freeman told Politico that he is "very happy with the changes."

3. Brett Gann, director of Epic's App Orchard, confirmed to Politico that Epic will charge lower fees for most of the 350 developers participating in the program. Epic may reduce fees by 33 to 80 percent, according to sources who attended the company's annual App Orchard Conference in Verona, Wis., in October.

"These updates will help drive healthcare innovation as interested developers have the opportunity to build on top of Epic's leading comprehensive health record platform, using emerging industry standards such as FHIR [Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources]," Mr. Gann said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

4. Epic also plans to bolster the App Orchard's program tiers with additional benefits, such as new training opportunities, developer events and support services.

5. As part of a new program tier, dubbed "Nursery," early-stage startups will be able to enroll to access Epic's developer support — including its application programming interfaces — for $100 per year until their apps are ready for commercial use, according to an emailed statement from Epic. In addition to the App Orchard's documentation and testing tools, Nursery members will have access to Epic’s FHIR sandboxes, classroom and online learning opportunities, and the ability to engage with the EHR vendor's online community of Epic, health system and developer experts.

"It's our expectation these updates will be a price reduction for nearly all program members," Mr. Gann said.

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