Epic's Share Everywhere
Patients with lifetime MyChart accounts:
Nearly 68 million
Driving the move:
Faulkner wants to shift from EHRs to CHRs
New features announced in 2017:
Artificial intelligence and patient engagement tools
As EHRs evolve, a few key issues will continue to crop up. One is interoperability, and another is the question of who has access to patient records. Epic had those thorny questions in mind when it developed its new global interoperability platform Share Everywhere.
The idea is that patients can use their smartphones to send their records data to any provider, regardless of that provider’s EHR — or even if they don’t have one.
What really makes the new platform promising is the passion the company behind it shows in making EHRs a central part of healthcare. Epic CEO Judy Faulkner doesn't actually like using the term EHR, because, as she says, “It’s all electronic.” Faulkner prefers to talk about comprehensive health records that include information about social determinants of health and a person’s community.
Epic is putting its money where its mouth is, and perhaps more importantly, embracing partnerships with a variety of other companies. In just the past couple of months, the company announced new AI and patient engagement tools that will enhance its portal options and said it will begin working with Surescripts and CVS to bring real-time patient-specific benefit and price information to providers. Also recently, Doximity said it has integrated with Epic’s Haiku mobile app, allowing providers to access patient records and communicate with patients via cellphone.
We can’t expect the caregiver on the other side to have that same sort of interoperability, so we want to target that and make it possible for patients, as appropriate and under their control, to be able to share their information.— Sean Bina, Epic's VP of access applications
This is particularly important as companies struggle to find a balance between interoperability and preserving proprietary information. A recent analysis in Health Affairs found that most gains in interoperability over the past few years have been aimed at improving transmission rather than usability. Fewer than 20% of hospitals said they “often” use patient data from outside providers to inform their care decisions.
Share Everywhere aims to change that. Just look at the product’s name to see what Epic wants to achieve. Starting by putting the power of sharing in the hands of patients shouldn't be overlooked. Brian Eastwood, analyst at Chillmark Research, recently told Healthcare Dive some healthcare organizations retain a paternalistic view of patient records. He wrote in a blog post that physicians need to “stop treating patients like second-class citizens” and give them access to data. He argues for putting culture before technology when it comes to interoperability. With Share Everywhere, Epic is trying to overcome obstacles in both arenas.
In an interview with Healthcare Dive, Epic’s VP of access applications Sean Bina said the new development will help interoperability in the less traditional realms of care, like sharing immunization history with a school nurse. “We can’t expect the caregiver on the other side to have that same sort of interoperability, so we want to target that and make it possible for patients, as appropriate and under their control, to be able to share their information,” he said.
The rollout of Share Everywhere has just started, so it remains to be seen how it may change over time. Meanwhile, Epic will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to make interoperability the status quo.