It's said that choosing an electronic health record (EHR) system is like choosing a spouse. While the majority of EHR unions seem destined for happily ever after, that is not the case with all. Physicians should have an exit strategy as they enter the EHR vendor relationship. The best way to do this is to seek mutually agreeable contract terms.
TMA recognized the need for this and developed EHR Buyer Beware: Issues to Consider When Contracting with EHR Vendors. This 8-page document encompasses eight must haves for physicians, including the transferability of patient data. The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology recently released EHR Contracts: Key Contract Terms for Users to Understand. The 25-page document is more inclusive and covers key information such as details about a "meaningful use" warranty.
A number of EHR vendors recently banded together to create an EHR Developer Code of Conduct. Ask your EHR vendor if it is part of the code of conduct. If not, it should be. TMA will add that criteria to the current list of questions for the EHR Comparison Tool.
If you need assistance with EHR selection, implementation, or meaningful use, the federally established regional extension centers (RECs) can help. For more information, visit the Texas Regional Extension Center Resource Center on the TMA website.
You can direct questions related to EHRs and other office technologies to TMA's Health Information Technology Department by calling (800) 880-5720 or by email.
Action, Aug. 16, 2013