Epic, the nation’s largest electronic health record (EHR) company and a major beneficiary of a $48 billion Obama-era federal program to promote the adoption of EHRs, has launched a full-scale effort to block the flow of data out of its software and into apps that benefit doctors and patients. That’s wrong for many reasons.
Epic is attempting to scuttle finalization of a rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would implement the interoperability and information blocking provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act. The thoughtfully crafted rule, proposed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and now under final review at the Office of Management and Budget, requires that EHRs operate seamlessly with third-party apps, and prevents EHR vendors and health care systems from blocking or inhibiting the flow of information between health information technology systems or to patients. The rule is intended to underpin a digital ecosystem on top of the government’s investment to transform the health care system.