Google Partnership Makes Epic EHR Workload Available on Google Cloud

The partnership will migrate the Epic EHR workload of hospital customers to Google Cloud to increase innovation, clinical efficiencies, and infrastructure security.

Health IT giant Epic Systems and Google Cloud have signed a deal allowing organizations utilizing Epic Systems to run their EHR workloads on Google Cloud, which aims to accelerate healthcare digital transformation.

"Our mission to innovate requires accessible, cutting edge technology," Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, CEO and chief executive officer for Hackensack Meridian Health, said in a press release. “With our Epic EHR on Google Cloud, we'll be able to innovate faster and benefit from a more efficient and secure cloud environment."

Google Cloud officials announced that the New Jersey-based network Hackensack Meridian Health would be the first healthcare system to participate in the offering. By moving its Epic EHR workload to the cloud, Hackensack said it aspires to drive greater innovation, efficiencies, and security.

“Hackensack Meridian Health is leading on two of the big transformations underway across this industry: building a secure foundation for digital infrastructure and putting data and AI to work for the patient," said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud. "This agreement with Epic will allow us to optimize it to run on Google Cloud, and we look forward to providing healthcare organizations more choice as they work to deliver better outcomes for their patients."

The move will also give the 17-hospital system access to technology like analytics and AI to improve patient outcomes.

"We expect running Epic on Google Cloud will be simpler for our IT and developers, and will allow them to focus more on uncovering creative ways to improve patient care," Kash Patel, EVP and chief digital information officer for Hackensack Meridian Health, said in a press release "Having everything with Google Cloud will provide a huge opportunity for discoveries. For example, data from our AI Avatar for natural language processing will already be in Google Cloud, ready for us to ask questions. This will speed up our work and make information more accessible."

Partnering with the largest EHR vendor that holds 33 percent of the hospital market will enable Google Cloud to increase its provider network. As of publishing time, the financial terms of the agreement are unannounced.

The partnership with Epic Systems is Google Cloud’s latest foray into the healthcare space and comes on the heels of several recent partnerships and collaborations.

Earlier this month, Google Cloud and Meditech announced their clinical data search and summarization collaboration would be making it to the next phase, with DCH Health System (Tuscaloosa, AL) and Mile Bluff Medical Center (Mauston, WI) signing as early adopters of the EHR integration.

The tool is set to provide clinicians with timely access to relevant patient health information from legacy platforms and disparate systems to advance clinical decision support.

The Expanse EHR will leverage Google Health’s summarization, search, and second-level insights capabilities to extract information from different parts of the patient record to produce a curated summary of a patient’s health conditions.

Despite the organization’s headway into the healthcare space several years ago, Google Cloud had difficulty maintaining positive relationships with other health IT giants such as Epic System and Ascension. In 2020, Epic told its customers that it would no longer pursue further integration with Google Cloud, a move that would have likely cost Google billions of dollars.

Instead, the EHR vendor temporarily shifted its focus to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure for a cloud-based technology provider to utilize for medical research, data storage, and file sharing.

This failed partnership with Epic trailed behind scrutiny regarding a data deal with Ascension.

Media reports outlined a series of industry criticism, stating that patient privacy was breached after Google employees gained access to Ascension patient health information when the information was transferred over to Google’s servers.

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