Recent news of a federal lawsuit against eClinicalWorks (eCW) alleges the company falsified its EHR capabilities pertaining to ‘meaningful use’ program requirements. The suit, brought forward by the Department of Justice, claims the company “falsely obtained that certification for its EHR software when it concealed from its certifying entity that its software did not comply with the requirements for certification.” The suit details that the company apparently “hard coded” drug information used for certifying the software to ensure it would pass. Further, the case alleges the software failed to provide data portability requirements that allow healthcare providers to transfer patient data housed in the eCW system to other vendors.
eCW settled the case without admitting to any wrongdoing and now must pay $155 million and agree to obtain an independent Software Quality Oversight Organization for the next five years to assess the quality of their systems and provide semi-annual reports that document the reviews and recommendations.
Replacing eClinicalWorks EHR
If your organization uses eCW software, it might be an opportune time to consider replacing eClinicalWorks EHR. Among other provisions, the eCW settlement with the federal Department of Justice includes provisions that require the company to assist its customers in making the switch to the products of other competitors, at no charge. Now, customers can get updated versions of their software free of charge, and upon request, eCW must transfer customers’ data to another EHR vendor without penalties or service charges.
Why did this happen?
Electronic medical records (EHR) are big business. A $28-billion dollar business to be exact. Currently, about 1,000 vendors are vying for their piece of the market. This creates intense competition to evolve the platform capabilities within the systems to provide an even more seamless integration of information at the point of patient care. The result is a concentrated pressure cooker that pits innovation against time-to-market.
And, as a relatively new industry, the safeguards and oversight measures are still being developed. Keep in mind, it was just 2009 when the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) was created and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs (also known as the “Meaningful Use program”), to provide payments to healthcare providers who demonstrate “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology.
Over the past several years, adoption of EHRs among non-federal acute care hospitals is nearly universal. In 2015, nearly all reported hospitals (96%) possessed certified EHR technology according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
Looking for a Solution for Legacy EHRs?
If your organization is affected by the eCW suit or just looking for a secure storage solution for legacy data from out-of-production EHRs, an archive could provide an opportunity to efficiently consolidate numerous disparate systems into one streamlined, vendor neutral repository.
A well-planned legacy data management strategy alleviates future IT costs, risks and burdens as platforms come and go. Long-term medical data archive vendors that know the EMR market inside and out offer secure solutions that ensure data integrity and meet HIPAA, state and agency medical record retention requirements.
Harmony Healthcare IT as an EMR archiving partner
The team of data management experts at Harmony Healthcare IT can help when the strategy is to migrate from eCW and disparate legacy patient or employee data sources into a single, secure archive. Complete return on investment usually is realized in 18-24 months. Should you need to decommission eClinicalWorks or any of your legacy systems, contact us.