Epic responds to Mother Jones criticism

In October, Mother Jones published an article attacking Epic, saying the EHR vendor has not delivered on the industrywide goal of connecting patient health records and optimizing digitization in healthcare. Now, Epic has written a response to Mother Jones in which the vendor refutes the claims made in the original article, saying the story was written using misinformation.

Peter DeVault, vice president of interoperability at Epic, penned the letter. He wrote, "The story took on a difficult and important topic related to EHR systems and their ability to interoperate. Unfortunately, it was based on discredited and unsubstantiated claims against Epic."

The Mother Jones article, called "Epic Fail," claims Epic stands in the way of seamless data sharing and doesn't allow patients easy access to their data. The author of the article, Patrick Caldwell, wrote, "Epic has helped create a fragmented system that leaves doctors unable to trade information across practices or hospitals. That hurts patients who can't be assured that their records…will be available to the doctors who need to see them."

In his letter to the editor, Mr. DeVault outlined Epic's data sharing capabilities, including how customers can access data at their discretion. "Epic customers can access their EHR almost anywhere, at any time, and our customers connect to and share patient records with thousands of organizations using other vendors' products, including those used by the Department of Defense and the Veterans Health Administration. According to the eHealth Exchange, Epic shares more records with these government agencies than any other vendor."

Mr. DeVault also drew attention to a RAND report Mr. Caldwell used to discuss Epic's interoperability history — a report Mr. DeVault said "relied on uncited assertions, anonymous blog posts and an article from the 1990s." He also cited the latest interoperability report from analytics firm KLAS, which ranked Epic as the No. 1 EHR vendor for interoperability.

Additionally, Mr. DeVault calls out Mr. Caldwell for mocking Epic's company motto: Do good. Have fun. Make money. Mr. Caldwell wrote in the Mother Jones piece that Epic has only succeeded in the last two points of the motto, a motto Mr. DeVault said the company strives to put into practice in the order in which it is presented. "We have to make money to be here for our customers tomorrow. We like to have fun at our campus and with our customers because we're human beings, and why not? It helps us get up in the morning and go to work so that we can achieve our primary goal, to do good."

Overall, Mr. DeVault said the Mother Jones piece does not contribute to the quickly developing health IT world, and such commentary does not help identify problems or solutions.

More articles on Epic:

Carequality appoints committee to lead nation’s largest interoperability initiative, including Epic, Cerner reps
ProMedica CIO Rose Ann Laureto talks Epic 2 days after go-live
Walgreens selects Epic EHR for healthcare clinics

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