Is Epic’s Dance Card Full?
by Modis Health IT on March 5th, 2013
In case you missed it yesterday, one of the next big things in Health IT arrived with an announcement from the newly formed CommonWell Health Alliance (Allscripts, Cerner, McKesson, Athena Health, Greenway, and RelayHealth to date); competitors promoting “interoperability for the common good.” These EHR solutions represent coverage of approximately 41% of the nations’ hospitals and 23% of ambulatory clinics. They recognize one of the greatest challenges facing the healthcare industry is exchanging patient data across disparate vendor platforms and they have a vision to see that data become available at any point of care. Their ultimate goal is to “promote and certify a national infrastructure with common standards and policies” and see it delivered through reasonably priced technologies. The CommonWell Alliance is an independent, non-profit organization open to any HIT vendor that agrees to its mission and vision.
Are you feeling all warm and fuzzy? Yes, the Alliance is open to anyone and their goal is improved interoperability, but did you notice that one of the major EHR players is missing from the list? That’s right. No Epic.
Is there drama in NOLA? Did someone forget to invite them to the ball?
According to Judy Faulkner, co-founder and CEO of Epic Systems, they didn’t know about the Alliance and they were not invited to join. She reportedly feels that CommonWell has less altruistic motives and may in fact be using patient access to data as a way for her rivals to be more competitive. Or maybe Epic’s dance card is already full. Epic already offers their own interoperability solutions and in September 2012, they announced a partnership with Surescripts to connect the Epic platform with the Surescripts network. I’ll leave it to the Health IT professionals to discuss the merits of Epic’s interoperability solutions against those of their competitors, but maybe competition isn’t such a bad thing. Epic is already far and away the EHR leader in the marketplace and it took forming an alliance for the vendors who comprise CommonWell to even come close.
The debate over who best provides interoperability solutions and their motives for doing so isn’t likely to conclude any time soon. In the end, whether Epic joins the CommonWell Alliance or not, I’m pulling for two specific results. As a recruiter, I hope that the push for interoperability creates more Health IT jobs, especially jobs that draw from the more technical, less clinical talent pool. As a patient, l just want easier access to my records and more options available from my smart phone.