Epic Systems Feeling Heat Over Interoperability

Darius Tahir | Modern Healthcare | October 1, 2014

Epic Systems' August decision to retain a Washington lobbyist was widely seen as a sign that the leading electronic health-record system vendor is feeling political heat based on the perceived lack of interoperability between its EHR systems and other systems.

At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in July, Epic was singled out for criticism by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), a physician, who cited a RAND Corp. report asserting that Epic's systems were “closed records.” Gingrey argued that the federal program providing incentive payments for healthcare providers to install EHRs was intended to promote interoperability. “Is the government getting its money's worth?” he asked. “It may be time for the committee to take a closer look at the practices of vendor companies in this space, given the possibility that fraud may be perpetrated on the American taxpayer.”

Epic's new lobbyist, Brad Card, CEO of Card & Associates, confirmed that Epic officials and some of its competitors held meetings in August with staffers from the Senate Finance Committee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to discuss the possible shape of the third stage of meaningful-use rules for EHR systems, particularly the interoperability requirements. Card is the brother of Andrew Card, former chief of staff for President George W. Bush...