I was convinced that Milt Freudenheim's glowing, uncritical puff-piece about Epic in the NYT would not provoke any critical blow-back (see: Digitizing Health Records, Before It Was Cool). I was certainly not expecting any criticism from hospital CIOs and CEOs who are anxious to stay within the good graces of the company and are contractually constrained from any visceral outbursts. However, Vince Kuraitis, who blogs over at e-CareManagement, has informed me via a comment that there is a heated discussion going on at Google+ about the NYT article and Epic in general. You may also want to refer to my recent blog note about Epic (non)-interoperability (see: A Reader Comments on Epic Interoperability and Care Everywhere). Here is Vince's comment:
FYI, there is heated discussion going on about Epic (non)-interoperability on Brian Ahier's Google+ post.
Here are five snippets from the ongoing Google+ dialogue selected on a semi-random basis:
- It's almost as if Milt Freudenheim avoided doing any research. It borders on contradicting anything that people who are actually work with Epic, as a company or as part of their workflow, will tell you about their experience. I know that Epic has their fanboys and girls, but come on... Really? (Nathan DiNiro)
- The article says it draws programmers that might otherwise take jobs at Google, Microsoft or Facebook. I can't imagine there are many of those. Let's see, work on MUMPS in Wisconsin or some newer technology in the Bay area. Yeah, I'm not seeing many making that choice. I also love that it says that Epic is sharing data with other systems. I'd love to see examples of this. I hear that Epic will have a spot in the interoperability showcase at HIMSS. Maybe we'll find out more there. (John Lynn)
- I was going to write a post but apart from all the good things about Epic, the [four] things Milt Freudenheim doesn't know that would have made a balanced article
- Technology is old and laughable outside HC (MUMPS or Ruby on Rails--you be the judge).
- Competition is pathetic (Cerner is the best.....McKesson? IDX/GE? pah).
- Buyers are America's dumbest corporations (hospitals) who like overpaying and overcharging....
- Epic doesn't even interoperate with Epic [and] there's no such thing as a standard install, My daughter's pediatrician in the Sutter System has Epic--NO Consumer access. Whereas at Palo Atlo Medical Foundation, which is Sutter AND has Epic, you can view your own record. Do you really think you cold move data from one to the other?
I guess the sad thing about American health IT is that this -- so far -- is the best we got (Matthew Holt)
- ....How much did Northern California Kaiser go over budget on their Epic implementation? $3 billion? Epic has the big dumb hospital/ foundation players by the short hairs and is milking it for all they can. And they have no intention of playing nice with other technologies or even their own kludgy systems. Of COURSE they argue that monopoly is the only valid solution... just like a privately-held corporation with a highly proprietary, closed-source solution should. (Paul Abramson)
- Epic is the antithesis of the type of open IT architecture that will be needed to achieve accountable care. Epic is enterprise centric, not patient centric. (Vince Kuraitis)
OMG! All of this anger can't be healthy. However, don't expect much to change in the real EMR/EHR world as a result of this discussion. Link to Google+ if you want to read more in this thread.
One more thing. Has the NYT totally lost its way amidst the Epic adulatory mist? Here's what I think happened. Judith Faulkner NEVER gives interviews to the press. I suspect that Milt Freudenheim was advised by his editors to pitch only softballs to her in exchange for this exclusive audience. I know that the paper maintains that it never cuts such deals but why don't you read the article and judge for yourself. There must be some teeny, weeny problems somewhere in Verona that Milt could have uncovered.