EHR Vendor Contract Controversy Persists

Monday, May 7, 2012

Like many industries that evolve in a somewhat unregulated marketplace, health IT has enjoyed a bit of a Wild West existence, albeit within a highly competitive environment. The scene is changing. Products' merits and their pivotal position within the care delivery system -- particularly with regard to patient safety -- face increasing scrutiny, as quality improvement advocates, policymakers and even the health IT community press for more transparency and, potentially, regulation.   

One hot-button issue is electronic health record vendor contract language that some claim impedes safety improvement. Two types of clauses have landed in the limelight:

  • "Hold harmless" clauses that require purchasers to indemnify vendors for errors, injuries or malpractice claims arising from use of the product; and
  • Clauses that prohibit users' open disclosure of identified product defects, glitches or hazards.