Epic is warning customers it will stop working with Google Cloud, CNBC reports

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Epic reps told customers the company decided to halt development with Google Cloud because it wasn’t seeing sufficient interest among its health system customers to warrant the investment, CNBC reported. (achinthamb/Shutterstock)

Account reps from Epic have told customers that the medical records giant will not be pursuing further integrations with Google Cloud, CNBC's Chrissy Farr reported Friday.

Epic’s representatives told customers the company would instead focus its energies on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, Farr reported, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

The reps said the company decided to halt development with Google Cloud because it wasn’t seeing sufficient interest among its health system customers to warrant the investment.

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Calls to customers have come in the past few weeks, said three people with knowledge of the matter, and were directed to Epic’s hospital customers that use Google’s cloud-based technology either for medical research, data storage or for their basic IT operations, including file-sharing, according to CNBC.

The people who spoke to CNBC declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak for their organizations on the matter.

RELATED: Google, Ascension defend their health 'data transformation' partnership

Google also is working on a health records search tool currently in the pilot phase using synthetic patient data. Using Google technologies, the tool is designed to reduce clicks when looking at a patient's record and enables clinicians to access a unified view of data normally spread across multiple systems, including vitals, medications, labs and notes, Google executives said in a video.

 A representative from Epic said the company declined to comment on specific vendors.

Seth Hain, Epic's vice president of R&D, said in a statement, "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."

"We focus our effort on the infrastructure the Epic community uses today and is likely to use in the future—including both public cloud offerings and on-premises servers and storage. No part of these efforts grant infrastructure vendors the right to use the data that may reside on their infrastructure," Hain said.

Google Cloud lags well behind AWS and Microsoft Azure in market share for cloud computing. Gartner's latest report on the public cloud computing infrastructure market indicates that AWS owns nearly half of the world's public cloud infrastructure market, leading by a wide margin Microsoft (15.5%), Alibaba (7.7%), Google (4%) and IBM (1.8%).

RELATED: Mayo Clinic taps Google Cloud as strategic partner to accelerate innovation in AI, analytics and digital tools

As it seeks to expand its customer base for its cloud products, Google has scored big-name healthcare partners such as the Mayo Clinic. The hospital announced in September a 10-year strategic partnership with Google to use the tech giant's cloud platform to accelerate innovation through digital technologies.

The new development with Epic comes as Google is facing significant criticism, including scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers, regarding its data deal with health system Ascension. News broke in November that Google was collecting personal health information on millions of Americans as part of a partnership with Ascension, sparking privacy concerns.

House Democrats are pressing Google and Alphabet executives for answers on how the companies use the health data they collect and the procedures they have in place to protect those data.

RELATED: House Democrat presses Google on health data collection in wake of Ascension deal

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Epic competitor Cerner decided against pursuing a data storage deal with Google, despite the tech giant offering $250 million in discounts and incentives. Google representatives were vague in answering questions about how Cerner’s data would be used, making the healthcare company’s executives wary, people familiar with the matter said, according to WSJ's reporting.

 Cerner struck a deal with Amazon instead. 

The failed Cerner deal reveals an emerging challenge to Google’s move into healthcare: gaining the trust of healthcare partners and the public. So far, that has hardly slowed the search giant, the WSJ reported.

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