Epic to focus on interoperability after HHS final rule

HHS finalized two interoperability rules on March 9, including the 21st Century Cures Act, which Epic opposed in recent months. 

Under the final rule, EHR users will be able to share health records data and the ONC outlined new provisions for health IT developers to make sure their products can communicate to improve interoperability and the user experience. The final rule also requires EHRs to provide necessary clinical data to promote new business models of care and establishes standards that will support patients' free access and control of their electronic health data through smartphone apps.

In the months leading up to the decision, Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of the EHR giant, emailed executives at hospitals across the U.S. asking them to oppose the rule due to patient privacy concerns. Sixty-six hospital and health system leaders signed a letter to HHS opposing the rule. There has also been concern about protecting Epic's intellectual property if the proposed deal is finalized.

Other companies, including Cerner, Microsoft, Google and Apple supported the proposed rule, citing its ability to improve patient care by making it easier to share information between providers and EHR systems.

The statement from Epic issued to Becker's on March 9 reads:

"We keep the patient at the heart of what we do and we focus on improving healthcare for patients. We have been working closely with HHS and ONC to try to improve the rule, and we appreciate their willingness to hear our feedback. The rule is very important to health systems and their patients, so we will read it carefully to understand its impact before making judgments."

Going forward, the EHR giant plans to focus on standards-based scope for meaningful interoperability and the impact of the rule on providers as well as the company's ability to support them in care delivery. Epic will also be mindful of the implementation timelines required for development and transparency for patients into how companies are handline and using data.


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