Healthcare pros more suspicious of all EHR vendors after eClinicalWorks scandal

With the Department of Justice expected to widen its false claims probe, 35 percent of healthcare insiders say trust in all electronic health records vendors is waning.
By Tom Sullivan
02:12 PM
Healthcare pros more suspicious of all EHR vendors after eClinicalWorks scandal

The eClinicalWorks scandal is eroding the trust that healthcare professionals, IT and others have in their electronic health records vendors, a new survey shows.

Thirty-five percent of respondents to a small research study said that they are now “significantly more suspicious of other EHR vendors,” than they were before the U.S. Department of Justice’s landmark $155 million settlement with eClinicalWorks.

[Also: Customer says eClinicalWorks holding patient data 'hostage']

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What’s more, 27 percent indicated that the deal decreased their confidence in the EHR vendor they are currently using, according to Reaction Data, which polled 113 people. Respondents were comprised primarily of physicians that actually use EHRs, as well as CIOs, CEO, administrators and operations pros. 

“A big takeaway from this is the unfortunate level of distrust that providers generally feel toward all EHR suppliers,” the researchers wrote.

Almost immediately after word of the settlement spread on May 31, speculation arose that the DOJ would widen its investigations to include other electronic health records vendors to root out any potential wrongdoing under the False Claims Act. The attorney listed on DOJ settlement materials declined to comment on future cases for a previous article and, as of now, no ensuring cases have been announced.

[Also: CMS won't punish eClinicalWorks customers for meaningful use EHR attestations]

While hospitals, EHR vendors, government agencies and other healthcare professionals hold their breath hoping a DOJ probe doesn’t happen to them, 71 percent of participants said they are “extremely unlikely to consider eClinicalWorks in the future.”

Another big issue is how many existing clients will exercise the option mandated by the DOJ to either upgrade their eClinicalWorks software or have their data transferred to a competitor’s EHR.

That’s hard to say at this point -- particularly given that 61 percent of respondents using a rival’s EHR and the 41 percent of eClinicalWorks customers indicated they were not even familiar with the settlement yet.

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