Jonathan Bush: Epic's opposition to HHS' interoperability rules is 'indisputably cynical'

Epic's recent campaign over privacy concerns against HHS' proposed interoperability rule is "indisputably cynical," said Jonathan Bush, executive chairman of Firefly Health, according to Politico's Jan. 31 Morning eHealth newsletter.

Mr. Bush emailed Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic, asking her to reconsider the company's stance on the proposed rules, according to the report. Mr. Bush said the email bounced; an Epic spokesperson told Politico that Ms. Faulkner's email is still functioning, but they did not confirm whether she received Mr. Bush's message.

Over the past month, Epic has voiced opposition of the proposed rule due to privacy concerns relating to third-party use of patient data. The EHR vendor released a statement on Jan. 27 saying that while Epic supports HHS' effort to improve data sharing for patients, the rule presents "serious risks to patient privacy."

"I think of you as a good person who wants good things in healthcare.... I am losing my grip on that assumption. Please reconsider," Mr. Bush wrote in his email to Ms. Faulkner, according to the report.

HHS' proposed rules would require the health IT industry to adopt application programming interfaces to help patients more easily access their health information.

In response to Epic's opposition of the rule, Mr. Bush argued that the EHR giant is instead protecting its own business, which would see the rise of new tech competitors when the rules are finalized.

Relating to privacy concerns associated with the proposed rule, in an email to Politico, Mr. Bush wrote: "Consumers are NOT as dumb as you think they are." He said that with new data-sharing opportunities, patients can send their medical data to new tech services that can "aggregate data and recognize patterns in a way that health systems can't," according to the report.  

In addition to his role as executive chairman of primary care company Firefly Health, Mr. Bush recently joined the board of directors at Innovaccer.

Editor's note: Becker's Hospital Review reached out to Epic for comment and will update the report as more information becomes available.

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