Fairview CEO bashes Epic, calls for march on Madison

James Hereford, the president and CEO of Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services, called Epic an "impediment to innovation" and told healthcare leaders they should exert more influence over the EHR giant, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

Epic's headquarters is located about 10 miles outside of Madison, in the nearby city of Verona, Wis. Fairview is a longstanding Epic client, hospital spokeswoman Marie Gentile told Becker's Hospital Review.

"I will submit that one of the biggest impediments to innovation in healthcare is Epic, because the way that Epic thinks about their [intellectual property] and the IP of others that develop on that platform," Mr. Hereford said at a panel discussion hosted by the Business Journal last week. "There are literally billions of dollars in the Silicon Valley chasing innovation in healthcare. And yet Epic has architected an organization that has its belief that all good ideas are from Madison, Wisconsin. And on the off chance that one of us think of a good idea, it's still owned by Madison, Wisconsin."

Mr. Hereford called on healthcare leaders to play a bigger role with health IT vendors.

 "There is an opportunity for us to go to Epic and say, 'Look, you have to open up this platform,'" he added. "It's for our benefit in terms of having an innovative platform where all these bright, amazing entrepreneurs can actually have access to what is essentially 80 percent of the U.S. population that is cared for within an Epic environment. I would love for us to get together to see how we march on Madison."

Ms. Gentile added that "given Epic’s prominence as an [EHR] provider, they are uniquely positioned to support collaboration for innovation in healthcare" but that Fairview welcomes "the opportunity to work with [Epic] for the benefit of our patients."

In a statement to the Business Journal and reiterated to Becker's Hospital Review, Epic pointed to its App Orchard as an example of its openness. The App Orchard is an online store that enables software developers to sell their Epic-compatible apps.

"We are proud of our open platform that many health systems and third parties have put to use," Epic spokeswoman Meghan Roh wrote in a statement to the Business Journal. "We are also excited about the hundreds who have joined our developer program, as well as the many whose innovations are now available on the App Orchard."

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