Epic Systems, one of the largest electronic medical record firms in the US, just hit its clients with some major news: They’re dropping any future integrations with Google Cloud.
The reason? Epic wasn’t seeing enough interest from its health system customers to justify the investment. Instead, they’re now focusing their energy on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
“We invest substantial time and engineering effort in evaluating and understanding the infrastructure Epic runs on. Scalability, reliability, and security are important factors we consider when evaluating these underlying technologies,” said Epic’s vice president of research and development, Seth Hain, in a statement. He added that Epic focuses on supporting “infrastructure the Epic community uses today and is likely to use in the future.”
Epic’s decision is challenging Google’s larger efforts to find new customer segments and industries for its cloud products, as the company lags far behind AWS and Azure in market share for cloud computing. Google is hoping to catch up with these major competitors by landing big-name customers like Mayo Clinic, and by touting its artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities.
Epic’s move also comes as Google faces criticism over its work with Ascension, one of the largest US health systems.Late last year, news broke that a small number of Google employees had access to Ascension patients’ protected health information after the two organizations signed a deal to move health information into Google’s servers. The company was calling the endeavor “Project Nightingale,” and it was said to involve information from millions across 21 states without their knowledge.
It’s no surprise, then, to learn that Epic is hardly alone in its move away from Google. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Cerner decided against pursuing a data-storage relationship with Google, despite being offered $250 million in incentives and discounts. The company was on the hunt for a cloud vendor to help it store nearly 300 million patient medical records. And in the end, Cerner went with AWS.
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