Daily Briefing Blog

How to protect providers' access to patient data

Clare Rizer, Daily Briefing

In today's Daily Briefing, we explained how German-based EHR vendor CompuGroup blocked Full Circle Health Care's access to about 4,000 patient records after the small medical practice allegedly failed to pay up to $20,000 in fees over a 10-month period. The lockout left nurses and doctors unable to use the system to access patients' records.

See the full story in today's Daily Briefing

When I asked our Advisory Board experts for their thoughts on the story, they all said the same thing: "I've never heard of this happening before." (Which is good, considering the patient harm that could come from providers being unable to access patient records.)

According to our experts, the biggest takeaway for providers is the importance of carefully reviewing all business contracts before signing them.

"How could CompuGroup's fees jump from $300 to $2,000 per month? Why is there no dispute resolution defined?" asks Health Care IT Advisor (HCITA) executive director Jim Adams. He says that practices of all sizes must have knowledgeable legal professionals review all of their vendor contracts.

"A well-constructed contract will include service level agreements and specific dispute resolution processes and remedies, to protect both parties, and by extension the patients," says Meg Aranow, senior research director for HCITA.

The contract should also make clear that the health system owns the patient data—not the vendor, HCITA managing director Kenneth Kleinberg told me. He adds that contracts should contain specific provisions—with third parties if necessary—to provide access to patient data in an emergency or a situation like the one with Full Circle.

Kleinberg also notes that—when it comes to EHR vendors—"there is some safety in numbers." Namely, he says that providers may have more influence when they work with a vendor used by many other organizations.

At the end of the day, HCITA senior research director Doug Thompson says, "The vendor has done irreparable damage to its reputation and its market prospects in the United States. No amount of money is worth that."

Vendor evaluation: How six enterprise EHR vendors stack up

Providers seeking to consolidate their vendor portfolios must seek out a vendor that minimizes integration challenges and support challenges—in other words, a single source based on an enterprise architecture. And with the staggering costs of health care IT and EHRs, organizations must carefully weigh their options.

We selected six of the leading enterprise EHR vendors to evaluate based on seven major criteria, both short-term and long-term, taking into consideration everything from support and services to overall vision and leadership.


More on Epic. Learn how leading organizations are taking an aggressive "advise and consent" approach to Epic implementations—allowing them to benefit from Epic's strengths while taking ownership of factors critical to success. Get the briefing now.

More on electronic health records

How you could be missing the mark on ambulatory EMR implementation

View the infographic to discover how you could be missing the mark with your approach to EMR strategy—such as the misuse of structured data fields, reliance on financial incentives, or a poorly designed user interface—and learn strategies to steer your organization toward the target.

EHR rollouts aren't an IT issue. How execs need to get involved

Successfully executing all the moving parts of implementing an EHR system starts in the C-suite and requires provider input. Advisory Board experts share their tips for success before, during, and after a rollout.

Meet our experts

Jim Adams, Executive Director

Jim leads the Health Care IT Advisor for The Advisory Board Company. His areas of expertise include business strategic planning and implementation, executive and board communication strategies, IT for accountable care and population health management, IT strategy planning and implementation, IT value assessments, and business intelligence and analytics strategies. Learn more about Jim.

Meg Aranow, Senior Research Director

Meg brings 25 years’ experience delivering health care solutions to academic medical centers to her position of Senior Research Director with the Health Care IT Advisor. Her expertise includes business intelligence and analytics, IT strategy and planning, clinical information systems, electronic medical records and CPOE, and vendor assessments. Learn more about Meg.

Kenneth Kleinberg, Managing Director

With more than 34 years of experience in IT, Kenneth leads the research team for the Health Care IT Advisor. He specializes in helping health care stakeholders with IT strategy as it relates to accountable care organizations, the medical home, and meaningful use of electronic health records and related applications and technologies with a special focus on health information exchange, mobile computing, and business process management. Learn more about Kenneth.

Doug Thompson, Senior Research Director

Doug is a leading national expert in translating health care information technologies into operational improvements. His expertise includes EMR benefits planning, outcomes management systems, performance management systems, product value analysis, and risk-adjusted metrics. Learn more about Jim.