EHR misconduct led to 70,000 clinicians using suboptimal products, report finds

Since 2009, six EHR vendors have reached settlements totaling $379.8 million over allegations of kickbacks and misrepresenting product functionality, according to research published Nov. 11 in JAMA Health Forum. During the period of complaints, the researchers found that 76,831 clinicians continued to use the products.

Researchers from Columbia, Md.-based MedStar Health, Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Salt Lake City-based University of Utah used Justice Department records to find settlements involving EHR vendors since 2009 and ONC data to identify how many clinicians were using products from those vendors. Four of the six vendors identified were involved in settlements relating to misrepresenting product functionality to secure certification from HHS, which is required to receive incentive payments and could be a factor in maintaining patient safety, according to a Nov. 11 MedStar news release.

"The expanded use of EHRs has helped providers and healthcare organizations better manage care for their patients. But what happens if providers can't trust that the EHR platform they are using is safe, secure, and can be used effectively?" Raj Ratwani, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs for MedStar Health Research Institute, director for the MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and senior author on the paper, said. "These data show that even a handful of examples of bad behavior by EHR vendors can have a far-reaching impact on patient safety and how providers use these platforms."

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