Before You Buy, Check Your EHR Contract

January 13, 2012

Why you should seriously read your EHR contract before you buy an EHR.

If you’ve been keeping up with our EHR coverage at Physicians Practice, you know we’ve told you time and time again to seriously read your EHR contract before you buy an EHR. 

And if what one IT expert who blogged on the topic of EHR contracts is right, it’s more important than ever to do this as vendors may be making contracts less appealing to practices.

In a lively blog posted to Hitechanswers.net, author Ron Sterling of Sterling Solutions made the case for why EHR contracts are offering less to providers. “EHR contracts contain an increasing array of complicating structures and dense terms that offer fewer and fewer commitments to your practice,” Sterling wrote. Among the chief problems:

• Broad disclaimers that further distance EHR vendors from any responsibility or liability that may result from the use of their products regardless of the cause;
• Jointly marketed EHR, practice management, and/or patient portal products may require separate agreements for each product. “In event of a problem, you could not only get caught between the different companies, but have contracts that specifically disavow any responsibility for the actions and interfaces with any third-party products,” Sterling wrote.
• More restrictive agreements to protect their products and businesses, including contracts that could hamper the ability of a practice to operate.

“In order to protect your practice and preserve your patient records, you need a balanced contractual relationship,” Sterling wrote, advising practices to have their contracts thoroughly reviewed by a qualified professional.

What do you think? Does your practice have an outside party review contracts before you sign them? Post your response below.