What you need to know about the hidden interoperability battle over your electronic medical records

Blake Madden
2 min readFeb 5, 2020


The interoperability schism between Epic and Big Tech rages on.

  • On Jan. 27th, the CARIN Alliance, comprised of new entrants like Apple, Google, and the rest of Big Tech, issued a short letter (read it here) to HHS in major support of the data-sharing proposal.

The bigger picture.

  • Amidst all of the data privacy concerns as of late, Google and others want better guidance around patient privacy. They want the data-sharing rules to be consistent with other modern data standards.

How would this affect me?

  • If the HHS’ proposed ruling were to go through as-is, then approved third parties would be able to access your medical records via application programming interfaces, or APIs. APIs would make it much easier for third party software to communicate with your medical records.

Epic, one of the largest electronic health record firms, is NOT at all a fan of HHS’ recently proposed health data sharing rules (read about the proposed ruling here).

Stuff about the ruling you should know

  • The HHS proposed ruling is designed to provide clearer guidance on how patient health information can be accessed — namely, making it easier for patients to access their own health information.

The bigger picture

  • HHS’ wants to make it easier for patients to access their data across health systems — something that Epic probably thinks is a key competitive advantage of theirs.

Who’s on board

Apple, Microsoft, and the rest of the Big Tech gang are on board with the interoperability proposal and want the policy to go through so that consumers can access their data “without further delay.”

Read more about what’s going on:

  • Apple, Cerner call for interoperability rule release ‘without further delay,’ highlighting industry rift (Fierce Healthcare)
  • Privacy versus access debate rages on, rekindled by Epic lobbying (Healthcare Dive)
  • All kinds of perspectives on the ruling (Beckers)

We’ll see where the interoperability ruling ends up. For now, it seems as if Epic is just delaying the inevitable.

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Originally published at https://thehealthymuse.com on February 5, 2020.



Blake Madden

I write about healthcare. Policy, business, digital health, & more. Written in plain English. Here to connect, learn, and continue the healthcare convo.