ONC asked to investigate Meditech over alleged information blocking 

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A Georgia law firm penned a letter to ONC July 20 urging the agency to investigate alleged information blocking occurring within Doctors Hospital of Augusta's Meditech EHR system, Law.com reported. 

The letter, sent by Bell Law Firm, claims that Meditech, Doctors Hospital of Augusta (Ga.) and records staffing firm Ciox Health are involved in information blocking, which violates the 21st Century Cures Act. Meditech declined Becker's comment request. 

Bell Law Firm claimed that Doctors Hospital of Augusta failed to send electronic copies of a client's medical records after the firm asked for them twice. Dorothy Anthony, a former patient of Doctors Hospital of Augusta and client of Bell, developed a stage 4 pressure wound during her stay at the hospital; CMS typically considers hospital-acquired stage 3 or 4 pressure wounds as an indication of negligent care, according to the report. 

Ms. Anthony's sister, who serves as her guardian, retained Bell to investigate whether she suffered medical negligence during her stay at the hospital. Ms. Anthony's sister requested the medical records from the hospital, which uses a Meditech EHR, but it produced the records in a format that deleted all the embedded electronic text data, the law firm claimed. 

Bell then requested the records again, specifically asking for the copies in a PDF-text format that retains the embedded electronic text data. The hospital produced the records again in a format that deleted all the electronic text data and with degraded image quality. In response to its inquiries, Bell said the hospital and Meditech declined to state whether the systems implemented at Doctors Hospital of Augusta allow for the full electronic health record to be converted to a text-based PDF file, according to the report. 

"The letter to ONC raises an important question for every Doctors Hospital patient — and beyond that, every patient whose medical records are kept in a Meditech system: Does Meditech’s EHR system lack the elementary functionality to export EHR into a readable electronic format?" Bell Law Firm Founder Lloyd Bell said in the report. "If the systems are unable to produce such basic records, then Meditech’s EHR systems may be improperly certified as meeting ONC criteria."

 

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