Buyer Beware in EHR Vendor Contracting

Electronic health record (EHR) contracts are typically written in a manner favorable to the vendor. A solid contract is critical to a successful long-term relationship and helps ensure that your EHR lives up to its advertised potential.

To help physicians navigate the EHR contract, TMA has developed eight key considerations in EHR Buyer Beware: Issues to Consider When Contracting with EHR Vendors [PDF]. The white paper is not an exhaustive list of considerations. TMA advises you to have your area regional extension center (REC) or an attorney carefully review your final contract before signing.

Texas has seen a record number of EHR purchases in 2011. Incentives are available to eligible physicians who "meaningfully use" a certified EHR – up to $44,000 under Medicare or up to $63,750 under Medicaid. 

Recognizing the challenges associated with implementing or upgrading EHRs, the federal government established RECs to give physicians access to technical consultants and on-site help. REC consultants can help you evaluate EHRs, negotiate a contract, and select an EHR system to fit your practice's needs and budget, all for only $300 per primary care physician. REC pricing for specialists varies. Contact your area REC for more information. Even if you already have an EHR system in place, you likely will face challenges in reaching "meaningful use." Visit TMA's REC Resource Center for more information.

If you have questions about the white paper, federal incentives, or REC services, contact the TMA Health Information Technology helpline at (800) 880-5720 or  

Action, July 5, 2011