TECHNOLOGY: EHR transition causes its own headaches

Technology contracts often favor the vendor. Medical practices should negotiate the most agreeable terms possible, especially regarding termination, to make for a clean break.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan amednews staff — Posted Aug. 5, 2013

ehrA large number of practices in the market for an electronic health record system are not first-time buyers; they are shopping for replacement systems. As they look to correct what they believe was a wrong purchasing decision, they may be more educated in the selection process but may be surprised at the complexities involved in changing systems.

Black Book Market Research published a February report estimating that 30% of health care organizations searching for an EHR are looking to replace their current systems with new ones. A separate report by market research firm KLAS in July 2012 estimated that 50% of shoppers aren’t first-time buyers. But as a lawsuit in Milwaukee is showing, practices need to be aware that switching systems can cause even more headaches.

Black Book published a follow-up to the February report on July 18 that found 91% of specialists say the cost and operational disruption of changing EHRs is too high, but 28% of primary care practices with EHRs still say they’re shopping for a replacement system. Seventy-two percent of practices planning to switch say usability issues are the primary complaint with their systems. The report was based on a survey of 2,880 of the original 16,000 health care organizations that participated in the February report.

Usability was the issue that had Milwaukee Health Services, a community health center, saying that after five years and $3.1 million, its system still was not functioning the way its vendor initially promised it would. The clinic decided to part ways with its vendor earlier in 2013. But instead of a smooth transition to a new system, it is now involved in a legal battle to get the vendor to release the records of its 30,000 patients.



Categories: Business, Technology

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