How the FTC's noncompete ban could affect Epic

The Federal Trade Commission's recent noncompete ban could affect the nation's largest EHR vendor, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Former Epic employees told the news outlet and wrote to the FTC that the company's noncompete clauses have prevented them from advancing their careers in healthcare and technology, according to the April 26 story. But the commission's April 23 decision could do away with those agreements at the EHR giant. 

An Epic spokesperson told Becker's the company is reviewing the FTC's ban, which is being challenged in court, to determine its impact. The vendor said its noncompete agreements apply to a "few dozen" health tech companies.

"It's important to protect high-tech [intellectual property] both within the U.S. to safeguard companies that create IP, and abroad to prevent IP created in the U.S. from being stolen," the spokesperson said. Epic agrees with the FTC's decision for reasons other than protecting intellectual property, according to the spokesperson.

In 2021, Epic's noncompete list included about 4,500 competitors and customers, including nine health systems, Isthmus reported in 2023. The clauses have prevented health systems from vying for ex-Epic staffers, IT leaders have told Becker's.

"It's definitely about people retention, and maybe 'people investment' from an education standpoint, more than it is about, I think, guarding any specific intellectual secret in our intellectual property," a former Epic employee told WPR.

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