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Non-traditional EHR tech companies vying for stake in market

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 20, 2018
Artificial Intelligence Health IT Telemedicine
Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon
are among the top companies predicted
to be vying for a stake in the EHR market
Providers interested in obtaining the latest in EHR technology may want to keep a close eye on what Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon have in store.

That is the recommendation of Kalorama Information, whose latest report places the four among the top technology companies predicted to revolutionize the field over the next several years with a number of projects currently in the works.

“These large tech players have much more programming and R&D resources than the existing EHR players, who are generally confined to making improvements and fixes to software itself,” Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, told HCB News. “Existing EHR players, such as Epic, Cerner, Change and Allscripts, will still be in the market. They will still own market share and installed base. But it is prestigious for a hospital to say they are working with Apple or Google. That's not a small factor in the hospital business, where consumer image and trust are essential.

Approximately 97 percent of U.S. non-federal acute care hospitals use a certified EHR, while approximately 84 percent of U.S. hospitals have adopted a basic system, estimates that support the predicted rise in the market’s value from $29.7 billion to $39.7 billion by 2022.

But EMRs have also caught the eye of non-traditional players looking to capitalize on its capabilities and technological enhancements. Google, Microsoft and Apple are three of these players who, between 2013 and 2017, tallied up a more than 300 healthcare patents.

Google put out the highest number at 186, focusing on investments made in its DeepMind initiative for developing mobile alerts that inform clinicians when a patient’s condition deteriorates; and Verily, its healthcare and disease research entity.

The California-based tech giant is also developing Liftware Level, a spoon that allows people restricted in movement to feed themselves; a diabetic glucose monitoring contact lens; wrist computers for monitoring nanoparticles injected into the bloodstream; implantable devices for modifying electrical signals and medication robots; and health and fitness apps and devices.

Seventy-three were filed by Microsoft for the expansion of its AI technology and the development of chronic disease monitoring technology, including Microsoft Genomics for cloud-based genomic processing; Microsoft Azure Security and Compliance Blueprint: HIPAA/HOTRUST – Health Data and AI for an end-to-end application development foundation to enhance cloud efficiency and safety; and Microsoft Intelligent Network for the creation of an AI-focused network in cardiology.

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