Congressman Blasts Epic Over Lack of Interoperability

"Congress has spent, as we all know, something like $24 billion over the past six years buying products to facilitate interoperability, only to have the main vendor under the program, Epic, sell closed platforms. Do you believe the federal government and the taxpayers are getting their money's worth subsidizing products that are supposed to be interoperable, but they're not?"

So said Rep. Phil Gingrey, MD (R-Ga.) during a hearing on technology and healthcare hosted by the Subcommittees on Communications and Technology and Health. For Rep. Gingrey, the answer is "no."

He references a RAND report, which cites a lack of interoperability as a reason EHRs have not yet reached their full potential. The report draws specific attention to Epic, saying the closed platform makes data exchange with Epic difficult and costly.[1]

"If the June 2014 RAND report is true, we have been subsidizing systems that block information instead of allowing for information transfers, which was never the intent of [the HITECH Act]. … It may be time this committee takes a closer look at the practices of vendor companies in this space, given the possibility that fraud may be perpetrated on the American taxpayer."

Carl Dvorak, Epic's president, has called Rep. Gingrey's comments untrue, according to Politico.

More Articles on Interoperability:

Electronic Data Interchange Market to Reach $1.7B by 2018
How CommonWell is Approaching Interoperability
50 Things to Know About Epic, Cerner, MEDITECH, McKesson, athenahealth and Other Major EHR Vendors

[1] An Epic spokesperson denounced the report, asserting the report's Department of Veterans Affairs authors were attempting to make the VA's system, VistA, look better by comparison, reports Politico.

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