Why Epic hasn't joined CommonWell

Unsurprisingly, interoperability was a hot topic at a recent healthcare forum on disruptive healthcare, but the conversation took an interesting turn when a Cerner executive asked an Epic executive to join the CommonWell Health Alliance, a multivendor collaboration focused on achieving interoperability, according to a Wisconsin State Journal report.

The Disruptive Healthcare Conference was held in Madison, Wis., Tuesday, and Cerner's vice president of interoperability Bob Robke joined Epic's vice president and director of interoperability Peter DeVault in a discussion, according to the report.

During the forum, Mr. Robke asked Epic to join CommonWell, of which Cerner is a founding member. "We would love for Epic to be part of that," Mr. Robke said, according to the report. "It would guarantee [its] success."

Mr. DeVault voiced concern about having to "buy in" to the alliance. He said Epic helps customers connect with CommonWell if they want to. "There is not a magic future down the road in which there is one health information exchange network called CommonWell," Mr. DeVault said.

He did not give a straight answer either way of whether Epic would join.

Both vendor executives did agree that issues surrounding interoperability aren't just technical, saying providers need more incentive to share patient data, and the rights, obligations and liabilities of those sharing data is not clearly defined, according to the report.

"There's an entire ecosystem of policy and national infrastructure that has not been developed yet," Mr. DeVault said, according to the report.

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