Mobile Applications

Amid Privacy Concerns, Epic Halts Additions To Health App Store

Epic Halts Additions To Health App Store

Epic Systems, a large digital medical records vendor, froze enrollment in its app store because of privacy concerns from third-party developers, according to a report by CNBC.

The company created the app store, called App Orchard, about two years ago to enable companies like Apple, Oscar Health and other health app providers to sync up with patient data received from clinics and hospitals.

App Orchard rapidly became the go-to way for health software developers to reach patients at some of the biggest hospitals and medical service providers in the country, including the Mayo Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital.

In December, enrollment in App Orchard stopped, and Epic told CNBC the action was temporary but dealt with security and privacy issues.

“Over the last few months, we updated our App Orchard policies to help assure that apps operate in ways that keep patient data safe, private and secure,” an Epic spokesperson said. “During that time, the App Orchard remained open, registrations were received, but new enrollments had to wait until our policies were completed. New applications are currently being reviewed and approved.”

Jon Pearce, CEO of digital health company Zipnosis, said Epic’s app store was important to the industry as a whole. App Orchard is “the only easy way to get access to their (health) systems in a somewhat above-board and consistent way,” he said.

App Orchard has about 119 apps, which include Apple Health and booking apps like Zocdoc and Oscar Health. There are also medicine reminder apps, and many more in the works.

Epic recently lowered fees for health developers to use App Orchard, and some sources said that was the catalyst for a flood of smaller developers to try and integrate with it. This is what prompted the security review and stop on enrollment.

Health tech companies are a popular investment venture, and many companies are trying to get access to App Orchard as health startup funding increases.

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