Judy Faulkner, Joe Biden reportedly clash over patient access to EHRs

Epic reaffirmed its commitment to patients' right to access their medical records, despite recent reports of a tense conversation between the company's CEO Judy Faulkner and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Ms. Faulkner reportedly asked Mr. Biden, "Why do you want your medical records? They're a thousand pages of which you understand 10," during a private meeting for Cancer Moonshot, one of the National Cancer Institute's programs, in January. Greg Simon, president of the Biden Cancer Initiative, discussed the meeting at a MedCity conference in Philadelphia Aug. 1, according to the Politico Morning eHealth newsletter.

In response to Ms. Faulkner's question, Mr. Biden reportedly responded, "None of your business …  If I need to, I'll find someone to explain them to me and, by the way, I will understand a lot more than you think I do." Mr. Simon went on to say the conversation "went downhill from there."

However, in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review, an Epic spokesperson said Mr. Simon's recollection of the portion of the meeting he described was "inaccurate and misleading."

"Epic supports patients' rights to access their entire record, something they have been able to do for decades," according to the spokesperson. The spokesperson added that, in the conversation with Mr. Biden, Ms. Faulkner raised an issue related to a specific section of the 21st Century Cures Act.

"In the meeting, Judy raised an issue regarding the 21st Century Cures Act that would potentially require a patient's EHR information be transmitted in a way that was 'easy to understand,'" according to the Epic statement. "She said that a requirement to translate EHR medical terminology into patient-friendly language could be a barrier to getting the medical record out to patients. Vice President Biden agreed, saying 'That's actionable,' and requested that one of his staff get the requirement fixed."

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