A few short months after Google came under fire for not being forthright about Project Nightingale – its data-sharing partnership with Ascension – EHR vendor Epic Systems warned hospitals that it would halt further work with the company’s cloud-based system, aligning itself with the many individuals who felt the partnership violated patient rights.

This was for optics, and a strategic decision to boot. Just days later, CEO Judy Faulkner asked hospital executives in an email to stand with Epic against the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed interoperability rule. In the email, Faulkner said that while those at Epic, “ … fully support helping patients have access to their data,” unintended consequences of the proposed rule might be “ … that health care costs will rise, that care will suffer, and that patients and their family members will lose control of their confidential health information.”

Certainly, all these are possibilities without the right controls. And that’s just the point – the issues Epic and others have raised about interoperability can all be managed, but we can’t justify more of the status quo because of it.

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