An Epic conflict of interest

Pejman Yousefzadeh | The Daily Caller | December 27, 2011

Meet Judy Faulkner. She is the founder and CEO of Epic Systems Corporation in Wisconsin. She is also a member of the GAO Health Information Technology Policy Committee and an advisory board member of the Journal of Healthcare Information Management. She is also politically active...The $787 billion stimulus bill signed into law by President Obama in February 2009 included $19 billion for healthcare information technology (HIT), and created the Health IT Policy Committee, whose job it was to advise the federal government on spending the $19 billion allocation. The committee was to have one member responsible for representing information technology vendors. Judy Faulkner was designated as that member.

A key aspect of HIT is “semantic interoperability,” which refers to a situation in which multiple systems are able to send and receive information, and are able to reconcile different terms. For example, if different names or terms come up for a particular disease, and the terms are reconciled, we will have semantic interoperability. Achieving interoperability means achieving efficiency in information transfers, which will bring about better patient service. And yet, Judy Faulkner, as the lone HIT representative sitting on the Policy Committee, has done everything in her power to stymie interoperability.

Consider the following observation from Glen Tullman, the CEO of AllScripts, which is a HIT company: Epic is the least-connected system of any out there. … The only people in the market who are fighting connectivity are Epic, and their strategy is to say, “Sure, you’re connected as long as everybody’s on one system and it’s the same version.” … Epic is not only against connectivity, but they’re anti-innovation. From that standpoint, they’re kind of exactly the opposite of the connectivity model that the rest of the industry is working toward...