I reported recently that the Cleveland Clinic, an Epic EHR client, was developing its own EHR interconnectivity solution (see: "Don't Tell Judy Faulkner," Cleveland Clinic CEO Cosgrove Cautions Audience). At a health innovation conference, CEO Cosgrove commented "that EHR interconnectivity will be happening across the country in three or four years'" but cautioned the audience "not tell the Epic CEO Judy Faulkner" about this trend. Now comes news that Geisinger Health System, a Cerner client, is also working on an interconnectivity solution (see: Interoperability: Now Geisinger has an app for that). Details are provided in the excerpt below:
Geisinger Health System and xG Health Solutions, a company founded by Geisinger, have connected a software app to an electronic health record by employing a new draft standard developed by international standards organization Health Level Seven. Geisinger developed a rheumatology app to interact with its Epic EHR. Now, by using the new HL7 draft standards, Geisinger and xG Health Solutions have successfully exchanged clinical data in real-time within the Cerner EHR framework. Geisinger and xG Health Solutions anticipate enabling apps to work in a similar fashion with all EHRs. This new "app approach" to augmenting EHR functionality has the potential to transform the delivery of healthcare by giving providers access to analyses of information that resides outside and/or inside the EHR, as well as decision support, regardless of the underlying EHR platform, Geisinger officials say in announcing the feat....Geisinger expects to make apps like these available to other healthcare systems through xG Health Solutions, founded by Geisinger in 2013 to commercialize Geisinger innovations. Geisinger and xG Health Solutions used an approach developed with grant support from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator's Strategic Healthcare IT Advanced Research Projects, known as SHARP, specifically the open-source Substitutable Medical Apps, Reusable Technologies, or SMART Platform. This Web-based interoperable container and the corresponding HL-7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, or FHIR, interface can exchange information in real-time with any SMART-on-FHIR-enabled EHR."
Epic has been dragging its feet with regard to interconnectivity of its product with EHRs from other vendors but not among its own client base. In my opinion, the company has been pursuing this strategy both to provide a valued feature to its own clients and also to promote its software as a de facto interconnectivity standard. Such a goal was not inconceivable given Epic's popularity among large hospitals. What Epic apparently did not bank on was that the Cleveland Clinic was willing and able to enter the software market with its own solution. Geisinger, through its IT company xG Health Solutions, was following a similar path with regard to the Cerner EHR. Look for Epic perhaps to soften its position on interconnectivity with foreign systems in light of these changed circumstances. I don't think that it will relish the scenario of competing with one of its own major clients in software sales.