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October 14, 2016

Selecting and Negotiating Contracts with Electronic Health Record Vendors: ONC Publishes Useful Guidance

On September 26, 2016, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) published a 53-page guide to assist health care providers in selecting and negotiating the acquisition of an electronic health record (EHR) system.

Aptly-titled “EHR Contracts Untangled: Selecting Wisely, Negotiating Terms, and Understanding the Fine Print”, the guide is divided into two main sections. The first seven pages address topics related to pre-selection planning; the next 46 pages explore topics related to the negotiation of EHR contracts.

Although the ONC warns providers up front that the guide “should not be construed as legal advice and does not address all possible legal and other issues that may arise”, the guide does help to clarify several important concepts in EHR contracts. In addition, it includes sample contract language throughout to assist providers and health administrators in negotiating contract terms with EHR vendors. Among the contractual concepts addressed in the guide are those related to:

  • the sharing of responsibility related to EHR safety and security;
  • warranties related to EHR system performance;
  • EHR data rights;
  • integration of an EHR system with a provider’s existing system and other third-party products;
  • intellectual property rights;
  • allocating risk and liability;
  • dispute resolution; and
  • transition issues.

All in all, the guide contains 24 sample contract terms and is a must-read for any provider or health administrator that is considering acquiring, changing or re-negotiating its EHR system.

The full guide can be found here.

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