Epic Grilled by GOP Lawmaker in Regulatory Hearing over Interoperability | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Epic Grilled by GOP Lawmaker in Regulatory Hearing over Interoperability

July 18, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints
Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. Credit: Wikipedia Commons


Members from the Subcommittees on Communications and Technology charged health IT vendors, like Epic Systems, of using closed systems and failing to promote interoperability at a hearing this week. 
For the hearing, members of the committee were examining how healthcare embraces technology and how health IT can be used to accelerate medical breakthrough cures. The hearings are a part of the 21st Century Cures project, being overseen by the Energy and Commerce Committee, that aims to bring patients, researchers, and doctors together to improve care and development new treatments. 
At one point during the hearings, talk turned to interoperability. Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA) along with Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) discussed the obstacles that are in standing in the way of achieving the promise of health IT in discovering breakthroughs in medicine. Specifically, they were concerned over the lack of integration between systems. 
Gingrey specifically expressed concern that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the federal government have spent roughly $24 billion on products that are not interoperable and not compatible with anyone but the primary EHR vendor. According to Politico, he mentioned Epic Systems (Verona, Wisc.) by name, saying the company has collected millions in federal incentives but still operates on closed systems and doesn't allow information to flow from its systems. 
"It may be time for us to look closer at the activities of vendors in the space, given the possibility that fraud is being perpetrated on the American people," Gingrey said, according to Politico.
There was talk on regulation and innovation in healthcare IT. Jonathan Niloff, M.D., CMO of McKesson (San Francisco), provided testimony and agreed with Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) saying the regulation of healthcare technology and medical devices needs to be modernized. He underscored the need for predictability in order to drive innovation
Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), who has been frequently involved in regulatory matters pertaining to health IT,  said in the hearings that electronic health records (EHRs), cloud-based genomic research, and preventive health medical apps are the future of medicine. "We have the opportunity to not only enable new cures, but accelerate the pace at which they are realized. By taking full advantage of available technology, the possibilities for the future of healthcare gives us hope," Upton said. 


Former Health IT Head in San Diego County Charged with Defrauding Provider out of $800K

The ex-health IT director at North County Health Services, a San Diego County-based healthcare service provider, has been charged with spearheading fraudulent operations that cost the organization $800,000.

Allscripts Touts 1 Billion API Shares in 2017

Officials from Chicago-based health IT vendor Allscripts have attested that the company has reached a new milestone— one billion application programming interface (API) data exchange transactions in 2017.

Dignity Health, CHI Merging to Form New Catholic Health System

Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), based in Englewood, Colorado, and San Francisco-based Dignity Health officially announced they are merging and have signed a definitive agreement to combine ministries and create a new, nonprofit Catholic health system.

HHS Announces Winning Solutions in Opioid Code-a-Thon

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted this week a first-of-its-kind two-day Code-a-Thon to use data and technology to develop new solutions to address the opioid epidemic.

In GAO Report, More Concern over VA VistA Modernization Project

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report is calling into question the more than $1 billion that has been spent to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) health IT system.

Lawmakers Introduce Legislation Aimed at Improving Medicare ACO Program

U.S. Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT) and Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) have introduced H.R. 4580, the ACO Improvement Act of 2017 that makes changes to the Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) program.