But those who were present on that day say that the outrage isn’t quite warranted.
Former White House CTO Aneesh Chopra, who was in the room, said the conversation was actually fairly cordial to his recollection.
“For those who were at the table that day, there was a motivation and desire to work together to improve data access,” he said.
Chopra now spends his time on an application programming interface called FHIR, which is designed to make it easier to share health information electronically. He said Epic developers have been present in these discussions and are making progress. “This speaks to me to be positive momentum,” he said.
Chopra stressed that Faulkner is neither a hero nor a villain, and that the problem is a lot more nuanced than that with many stakeholders involved. Fundamentally, the problem is that Epic, like many other medical record vendors, was initially designed for the purposes of billing — and not for data-sharing.
Another former health IT expert, former Department of Health and Human Services’ employee Arien Malec, agreed that Faulkner’s words weren’t nefarious.
If anything, he said, they seemed paternalistic.
Many in the health sector hold the view that providers, such as doctors, should own medical records as they will act in the patient’s best interest.
“I suspect Epic and other provider organizations believe they know best about how to present to patients,” he explained. “I also believe that Epic has committed to patient access and has demonstrated commitment for a long time.”
If Faulkner is the villain, Biden has emerged a hero.
His response to Faulkner’s question about why he would want his records seemed to sum up a lot of the frustrations felt by those in the medical community.
“None of your business,” he retorted.