Epic Systems, the Verona, Wis.-based electronic health record (EHR) vendor of which some 190 million patients have an electronic record on, has announced a new solution that aims to allow patients to grant access to their data to any providers who have internet access—even if they don’t have EHRs.
This new innovation has the potential to significantly improve healthcare interoperability, Epic officials attest. Through the Share Everywhere solution, “Patients will be able to use their smartphones to direct a view of their Epic chart in minutes to any clinician, anywhere in the world. Because the patient determines who gets access, the patient’s privacy is protected. In addition, Epic records all access,” vendor officials noted in a Sept. 13 press release.
What’s more, using Share Everywhere, a provider who is granted access can send a progress note back to the patient’s healthcare organization for improved continuity of care. Share Everywhere is ready for use now and will be available to the Epic community at no cost in the November update of Epic’s patient portal, MyChart.
In an exclusive email exchange with Healthcare Informatics, Epic’s CEO and co-founder, Judy Faulkner said that “The challenge was getting information to and from clinicians who don’t interoperate with health systems that use Epic, which could be for many reasons,” noting that these reasons may be: they may not have an EHR; their EHR may not be interoperable; the EHR may interoperate but the electronic addresses of each party may not be known to each other; or there may be no legal agreement between the parties.
Faulkner continued, “By putting control in the hands of the patients to decide where their data goes, by creating a helpful user interface for the clinician to see the C-CDA [consolidated-clinical document architecture] health information of the patient, and by sending the clinician’s note back to the Epic health system in an easy way for the clinician using Epic to find and review, we have improved continuity of care for the patient.”
Epic’s interoperability work first began in the pre-meaningful use era with the development of its Care Everywhere platform. Today, organizations using Care Everywhere exchange two million patient records per day with Epic and non-Epic systems. Epic officials attest that all of its health system customers are interoperable with each other, other EHRs, government organizations and other national networks. Yet, they said, a core challenge remained: figuring out how to send important patient information to clinicians who cannot interoperate, and how to do so in a way that protects patients’ privacy.
As such, enter the Share Everywhere solution. Said Janet Campbell, Epic vice president of patient engagement, in a statement, “Patients should be able to easily share their health information with anyone they choose, no matter where they are. Share Everywhere now makes this possible.”
Epic was named a Most Interesting Vendor by Healthcare Informatics earlier this year, and in an in-depth profile of the company, Faulkner and COO Carl Dvorak exclusively conversed with Healthcare Informatics’ Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland about how Epic has been able to build its market dominance over the years.
To this point, with revenues of $2.5 billion in 2016, the privately owned company ranked sixth on this year’s Healthcare Informatics 100 list of the top healthcare IT vendors in the U.S., the third EHR/clinical information systems vendor on the list.