Epic Systems is continuing to solidify its position as a leading EHR vendor against competitors like Cerner and Allscripts. The company's current initiative is to develop lower priced versions of its pricey software aimed at smaller hospitals (see: New Epic EHR systems to carry lower prices, aimed at smaller hospitals). Below is an excerpt from an article on this topic:
New, more minimalist versions of the Epic EHR system will feature lower prices, though also less functionality. And these will be aimed at smaller hospitals.... New Epic EHR systems currently in development will come with lower price tags and will target smaller healthcare providers that have not traditionally been within Epic's orbit. The moves by Epic Systems Corp. mark the first time the company -- known for its large, expensive, comprehensive and sometimes difficult-to-install systems -- has eyed down-market opportunities. The two main new Epic EHR platforms are named Utility, a moderately smaller version of the larger Epic ecosystem the company now refers to as All Terrain, and Sonnet, a more significantly slimmed-down implementation of All Terrain with many fewer modules....
Larger health systems will also be able to install Sonnet in a section of their systems while using a configuration of the larger All Terrain offering in the rest of their network....In the meantime, [an Epic executive] said the new product offerings will target critical access hospitals, physician practices and post-acute care facilities, such as rehab hospitals -- a market that will pit Epic more directly against vendors such as athenahealth Inc. and Greenway Health LLC [and Meditech]...[He] declined to talk about pricing strategy, or identify specifically which features, capabilities or modules would not be available in Sonnet and Utility....Epic EHR systems are typically found at the country's biggest and most prestigious academic medical centers and integrated delivery networks. Boston-based Partners HealthCare spent about $1.2 billion upgrading its hospital system to Epic over the past few years. Hospital officials blamed the installation and associated training and other costs for part of the healthcare system's operating loss last year.
So, by selling less expensive systems, Epic will theoretically be more competitive in the EHR market for smaller hospitals and even post-acute-care facilities while still integrating these facilities into the "Epic ecosystem." I blogged six years ago about Epic's pursuit of the smaller hospital market (see: Epic Moving into the Meditech-Dominated, Smaller Hospital EMR Market) and also its remote hosting model where large hospitals running the Epic EHR could support the EHR needs of smaller neighboring hospitals (see: Epic Helps Convert Its Large Hospital Customers into Epic Hosting Sites/Consultants). Of course, another EHR growth strategy would be to expand into countries outside of the U.S. However, the tendency for Epic to drive some of its client hospitals into the "red ink business" is not confined to the U.S. (see: Epic EHR adds to UK hospital's financial mess).
In the past, Epic has shown little interest in cloud-based solutions, indicating that larger and more complex health systems, their major customers, preferred to own and run their own computer systems (see: Epic's Faulkner: Large customers not buying into health IT cloud). One wonders, however, whether this renewed interest in smaller hospitals on the part of Epic will ignite more of an enthusiasm for cloud-computing. Here's an article dating back to 2014 indicating that the company was investing in a large data center (see: Epic Systems Corp. plans massive cloud data center). Many corporations outside of healthcare decided long ago that cloud computing was ideal for them. Here's a link to a Forbes article dating to 2013: The Cloud Hits the Mainstream: More than Half of U.S. Businesses Now Use Cloud Computing.