HomeHealthParticle Health says data dispute with Epic Systems not affecting most customers

Particle Health says data dispute with Epic Systems not affecting most customers

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Particle Health said on Monday that the “vast majority” of its customers are still receiving records from medical software giant Epic Systems despite an ongoing dispute between the two companies over data-sharing practices.

Epic’s software supports more than 300 million patient records, and Particle acts like a middleman that helps health-care organizations access the data they need. Both companies belong to an interoperability network called Carequality, which facilitates the exchange of patient information on a large scale.

On March 21, Epic filed a formal dispute with Carequality citing concerns that Particle and its participant organizations “might be inaccurately representing the purpose associated with their record retrievals.” To join the Carequality network, organizations must be approved and abide by “Permitted Purposes,” generally having to do with treatment, for the exchange of patient records.

Patient data is protected by a federal law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which requires a patient’s consent or knowledge for third-party access.

Particle said in a release Monday that while Epic “indiscriminately stopped responding” to data requests from some of its customers because of the dispute, most clients were not affected. The company said it’s been pressing Epic to restore connection to impacted customers, and many are already back to normal.

“While there is an ongoing dispute between Epic and Particle Health, related to three specific customers, the significant majority of Particle Health customers impacted by Epic’s actions were not in any way related to this dispute,” the company said in the release.

In a statement to CNBC on Monday, Epic said it discovered that some Particle customers were accessing patient medical records by “falsely claiming to be treating them as patients.” Epic said that after a review, its customers asked the company to prevent “a small number” of groups from using Particle’s Carequality connection to access their data.

“This violates the guidelines and spirit of Carequality, which was established to advance interoperability to improve treatment for patients,” Epic said in the statement.

Epic said its customers have asked Particle to provide more information about how these organizations are using medical records before it restores access.

Particle CEO Jason Prestinario said in his company’s release that the startup will address the dispute with Epic through official procedural channels.

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