Why Epic's Market Dominance Could Stifle EHR And Health IT Innovation

Brandon Glenn | Medical Economies | April 25, 2013

Epic is the nearly undisputed king of the electronic health records world.

About 40% of the U.S. population has its medical information stored in an Epic electronic health record (EHR), and the company often sits atop research firm KLAS' rankings of best-available EHR systems.

Epic has plenty of big-name clients who've spent tons of money installing its expensive systems: $700 million from Duke University Health System; $700 million from Boston's Partners Healthcare; $150 million from the University of California, San Francisco; and $80 million from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, Forbes reported last year.

So it's not surprising that such a high-profile company has attracted several notable critics, who warn that its market dominance could have harmful effects on the future of health information technology, EHRs and even patient care. Worse, these critics warn, Epic has achieved much of its market dominance on the backs of taxpayers - courtesy of $35 billion in federal subsidies paid to hospitals and doctors to purchase EHR systems.