Epic latest to drop fees for data exchange
April 21, 2015 in Medical Technology
It seems that all anyone had to do was ask. Just a few days after the Office of the National Coordinator reprimanded EHR vendors such as Verona, Wis.-based health IT giant Epic – and many others – for charging fees for exchanging patient data, Epic CEO Judy Faulkner reportedly announced at HIMSS15 in Chicago last week Epic would drop fees until at least 2020, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports.
[See also: ONC calls out information blockers.]
“Most complaints of information blocking are directed at health IT developers,” wrote ONC in a report to Congress earlier this month. “Many of these complaints allege that developers charge fees that make it cost-prohibitive for most customers to send, receive or export electronic health information stored in EHRs, or to establish interfaces that enable such information to be exchanged with other providers, persons, or entities.”
While not naming names, the report holds that “some EHR developers allegedly charge a substantial per-transaction fee each time a user sends, receives, or searches for (or ‘queries’) a patient’s electronic health information. EHR developers may also charge comparatively high prices to establish certain common types of interfaces – such as connections to local labs and hospitals.”
In addition to Epic, other health IT companies – athenahealth and Cerner among them – had declared earlier they would absorb the fees, taking the burden off their clients.
It’s a practice that had been going on for years. Perhaps sometimes all it takes is a good scolding.