In response to a recent note about Epic's Care Everywhere (see: Sharing Medical Records across Hospitals with Epic's Care Everywhere), a reader (Open Standards) posted a comment which I thought was instructive and worthy of promotion to the level of a note. I present it below in its entirety:
Per the Epic technical manual, Epic's Care Everywhere is [described in] the following [way]: 1. For Epic institutions, it is an XML file containing Epic proprietary extenstions to the continuity of care document. 2. For non-Epic institutions, it is an XML file containing the standard continuity of care document. Both of the above are variations of the same theme: the CCD document, an XML marked up document with the demographic, medication, medical history, and most recent encounter data abstracted from the EMR.
There is nothing particularly innovative about Epic's Care Everywhere. In fact, it is a Mearningful Use requirement for any EMR vendor to have CCD export capability. In this regard, all the 400+ MU certified EMRs in the U.S. have this functionality. A CCD document is vastly different than an HIE, which is an independent server that acts as a translation broker. The whole point of the CCD is to enable point-to-point transfer of a common standard machine readable summary of the patients data as a handoff document between any and all EMR.
In this regard, EpicCare specifically breaks the standard CCD form, and makes it incompatible with the rest of the 400+ EMRs in the USA by adding their proprietary extensions. This is consistent with Epic's proprietary, one-vendor-shop, non-interoperability stance. The statement that "any hospital can interoperate with Epic's Care Everywhere - just so long as they are an Epic institution" aptly summarizes this. Again, the proprietary extension to the CCD by Epic means that the 400+ certified EMR's in the USA won't interoperate with Epic's EMR, because these 400+ EMRs adhere to the government mandated open standard CCD XML form and Epic doesn't.
I would appreciate any further comments if this comment is erroneous or misleading in any way. On this basis, it would not be correct to describe Epic's Care Anywhere as a type of HIE. The name of the product is misleading but that nothing new in the software industry. It seems to be a proprietary version of CCD export capability -- a continuation of the Epic's "walled garden" software model.