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Google Health’s Care Studio ties up with Meditech—here's why Epic could be its next target

The news: At the HIMSS conference this week, Google Health announced a partnership to integrate Google’s Care Studio with Meditech’s electronic health record (EHR) platform, per a Google blog post.

  • The tie-up will build on Google Cloud’s previous partnership with Meditech, and will utilize Google Cloud’s infrastructure, according to the tech giant.
  • It’s also important to note Google’s focus on privacy throughout the blog post. It specified patient data will be encrypted and separate from Google consumer data within the announcement.

How does Google’s Care Studio work? It essentially serves as a clinical search tool that lets clinicians quickly access patient information in their personal health record.

For example, providers can type a word like “diabetes” or “hemoglobin” into the Care Studio search bar, and the tool will pull up all relevant patient info across the health system’s multiple clinical softwares.

Quick access to a patient’s clinical information could be handy for physicians already overburdened with paperwork, since patient information is often buried across multiple platforms. Some hospitals have a patient’s MRI results and medical history on two different softwares requiring separate logins, for instance. Toggling between both takes valuable time away from patient care.

Here’s what the partnership means for Google: Its Care Studio has had one-off partnerships with health systems, but partnering with Meditech means reaching multiple new hospital clients.

Last year, Google’s Care Studio inked a deal with major health system Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIMDC) to let clinicians try the tech giant’s clinical search tools.

BIMDC wasn’t its first health system-tie up, though.

  • In 2018, Ascension teamed up with Google’s Care Studio, but lawmakers rang alarm bells when it was revealed that Google was collecting patients’ personal health information.
  • It’s likely Google highlighted the importance of safeguarding patient data in its latest announcement to ease any privacy concerns from new clients.

Now, the expanded Meditech partnership means Google will eventually get its Care Studio in the hands of physicians at various new health systems: Meditech boasts over 623 hospital clients, per its website.

What’s next? If Care Studio’s partnership is a hit with Meditech’s hospital clients, it would be a jumpstart to Google partnering with larger EHR vendors like Epic and Oracle’s Cerner.

That would help Google’s Care Studio scale more rapidly than with a Meditech partnership alone:

  • Epic dominates the EHR market with a 31% stake in market share, while Cerner trails behind at 25% market share, per 2021 KLAS data.
  • Meanwhile, Meditech trails behind both of these players with only a 16% slice in the EHR market.