A major donor to the Democratic Party has received favorable treatment from the Obama administration, including a choice appointment to a federal advisory committee, and lavish praise from the president himself.
Yet health information technology vendor Epic Systems Corp. opposes a key administration position on health IT. Its founder, Judith Faulkner, has spoken out on numerous occasions against “interoperability” in electronic medical records technology.
So why was Faulkner appointed to a 13-member panel charged with recommending how $19 billion in stimulus money be spent? One can’t help but notice that Faulkner and other epic employees have given nearly $300,000 to Democrats since 2006.
Since Obama began his push for health IT, he has lauded numerous Epic clients as exemplars of the potential of the technology – despite the fact that their software is only interoperable with other systems made by Epic. Epic clients who have tried to share data with other software platforms have experienced significant technical problems.
Epic also recently secured a $14 million contract to update the Coast Guard’s electronic medical record software. It is now looking to secure a similar contract for the Veterans Administration. In the latter effort, it has enjoyed the help of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation, which threw its weight behind software that fits the precise model offered by Epic.