Epic introduces App Orchard low-cost option

The new tier, known as Nursery, comes as the EHR vendor has also reduced pricing for its more expensive tiers by 33-80 percent.
By Tom Sullivan
02:22 PM

Epic has reduced the price for startups to participate in its App Orchard developer program and revealed a new entry-level tier.

The new option, dubbed Nursery, costs $100 a year. Epic also said it has cut the pricing on its three existing tier by 33-80 percent.


When electronic health record vendors first started launching developer programs, the going rate was usually to charge 30 percent of top line revenue. In the time since, however, companies have realized that is too steep for startups trying to decide whether they should write new apps for, say, Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, eClinicalWorks or Epic. Other EHR vendors have also restructured their pricing, accordingly.

Nursery, for its part, provides fledgling innovators access to public API documentation, developer sandboxes for testing code, FHIR, Smart on FHIR and the CDS Hooks API.

Nursery is for testing apps. “When a company is ready to go to market it can graduate to the next tier,” said Epic App Orchard Director Brett Gann.


“These updates will help drive healthcare innovation as interested developers have the opportunity to build on top of Epic’s comprehensive health record platform, using emerging industry standards such as FHIR,” Gann explained.

About that tem "comprehensive": Epic CEO Judy Faulkner said this past year that EHRs should now be called CHRs – as in comprehensive health records – reflecting that they incorporate more data types, such as social determinants of health. Epic’s chief rivals are moving in the same direction toward a CHR, regardless of what the software is named. (Other experts, meanwhile, have questioned whether "comprehensive" is even a goal to be striving for – preferring instead for records to be "connected.")


For our Focus on Innovation in Sept. 2018, we spoke with entrepreneurs about the challenges and opportunities of working with EHR vendor developer programs. High on the list of downsides: Pricing. That 30 percent of top line revenue inhibited innovation, many said.

Fair and transparent pricing, in fact, is one of the seven tenets developers need from EHR vendors.

Among the others: a playbook, clear terms of service, broader support for a single version of FHIR, business side process support and a truly open mindset more akin to Amazon than what exists today.

Twitter: SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com

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