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Readers Write: Our Experience with Epic’s App Orchard

November 19, 2018 Readers Write 2 Comments

Our Experience with Epic’s App Orchard
By Chinmay Singh

Chinmay Singh, MBA, MSE is co-founder and CEO of SimplifiMed of San Francisco, CA.

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SimplifiMed went live last month on App Orchard after several months of work. I believe other startups can benefit from our experience as they pursue integration with Epic.

We integrated with many other EHRs before Epic, including Athenahealth, Centricity, and Drchrono. As I review my experience, there may be a whiff of unavoidable comparison.

1. Epic is the most customer-focused EHR vendor

This became clear to me in my first call with Epic’s App Orchard team. I could vividly imagine a customer in the center of anything App Orchard team discussed — workflow, security, or marketing message. For this reason, I would recommend that startups first integrate with other EHRs, learn from that, and then approach Epic.

2. The App Orchard team knows the customer

Your contact at App Orchard is unlikely to be a mere project manager. He or she will be an active participant and will gently prod and challenge you on your workflows and the selection of APIs. If you don’t have an active Epic customer, this is one of the best resources you have to compensate for the lack of information. Use it.

3. Epic listens to App Orchard members

We all have heard about a certain recalcitrant Midwest company. I was surprised at how receptive the App Orchard team was to my suggestions on the program, pricing, and terms. They listened to my concerns and responded to them in a timely fashion, and I assume that the new program terms were partially influenced by the feedback I provided to them. Reach out to them with your feedback.

4. App Orchard documentation is lacking

The API documentation is very basic, and in some cases, unusable. For example, there is no explanation of the different versions of the same APIs. Or that two different APIs appear to be doing the same thing (they are not) without a good explanation. The advice in #1 and #2 above partially compensates for this. If Epic team needs some inspiration, they should look at Athenahealth’s developer suite. Not only does Athenahealth have more robust documentation, all of their APIs can be tried in the sandbox.

5. No Hyperspace

This is the biggest issue with App Orchard. Without access to Hyperspace, it is difficult to test the product. Moreover, Epic periodically resets the back end, forcing you to re-create your test cases. This is a huge time sink. As we are experiencing now, prospects want to see a demo of SimplifiMed working with Epic. But without access to an Epic instance, we are unable to do so. I would love to hear from other App Orchard partners on how they are overcoming this problem.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

    • You may want to check the revised fee structure for AppOrchard. It’s not perfect but much more friendly than the original one. At the end of the day, I would like to see EHR vendors take a long-term view of their ecosystem, identify what is core for them and enable partners to develop around that core.







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Reader Comments

  • Billy Bonka: I find it interesting that you pick on Epic for Share Everywhere and Lucy, while completely ignoring the impact of Care ...
  • JeanneC: Much of health care is driven by a "Show me the Business Case" model, not a "What is the best way to employ information ...
  • Fred: Epic does this from time to time; puts out apps it doesn't really care if anyone uses or solves any real problems, so th...
  • MAD: Pointing the finger at Epic Systems is not fair the issue is getting data out of the legacy systems that process is brok...
  • oofda: I wonder how many doctors would buy an EHR that didn't help them bill accurately or allow them to get their mad money fr...
  • Frank Poggio: Yep...get off the billing kick. Epic, Cerner and Meditech all started in the Lab. Did not do billing till they had hundr...
  • Oof: Every time I read the complaints from physicians about how the system was build mainly for billing, I have a "Get Out" h...
  • Yosemite: Yosemite is my favorite national park. The Valley is so stunning that photos taken from the scenic overlook Tunnel View...
  • Mr. HIStalk: They do, but unless diarrhea is involved, we're then talking about intermittent monitoring for men. It's just not fair!...
  • Tarō Gomi: But as you know... everybody poops!...

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