Mostashari to EHR vendors: Clean up your act

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National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari lashed out at electronic health record vendors who engage in improper behavior last week, telling them to do what is "moral and right" or face additional government regulation, according to Government Health IT.

Mostashari, speaking at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's HIT Policy Committee meeting on Feb. 6, was clarifying comments he made at the prior month's meeting. He pointed out that his concerns were directed at just a few "exceptions," not the bulk of the EHR vendor community. Clearly, though, he was not pleased with the vendors who engage in improper activities, saying that some of them are "beyond the pale" in their conduct.

"We are expecting vendors to step up," Mostashari said. "But if we have to, we will go back to the regulatory process."

Some of the vendor-generated problems Mostashari cited in the meeting included lack of pricing transparency, unfair contract provisions and "data lock in", which makes it very difficult for providers to change vendors. He noted that he receives complaints "daily" from providers regarding vendor tactics.

Some providers have taken matters into their own hands. For instance, Panama City, Fla.-based Pain Clinic of North Florida sued Allscripts in December, claiming among other things that Allscripts refused to fix defects or refund money after discontinuing its MyWay EHR product. The complaint also said that physicians who opted to switch to a different vendor's EHR would have to pay Allscripts thousands of dollars to get their data released back to them.

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