EHR Vendor Data Blocking Impedes Critical Registry Reporting

Medical specialty societies—which rely heavily on electronic data registries to monitor everything from disease rates, procedure outcomes, and medical implant or device success rates, claim that electronic health record (EHR) vendors are hampering their reporting processes.

Providers are increasingly under pressure by healthcare reform and MACRA legislation to collect and report outcomes data for everything from joint replacements to hospital readmissions. However, EHR vendor contracts often prohibit providers from using separate registry software because registry vendors are perceived as competition. According to a report by Politico, specialty medical societies such as the American Academy of Dermatology, have complained that EHR vendors have made it difficult to feed EHR data into registries for reporting purposes. This forces providers to purchase separate registry software from their EHR vendor or seek registry software from a third party vendor.

EHR vendors often delay requests to sell their own registry software, quote prohibitive prices for integration, or flatly refuse to transmit the data and instead offer to sell physicians their own software, Marta Van Beek, co-chair of the American Academy of Dermatology’s registry committee, told Politico.

“You’ve already collected this data, as a provider. You’ve entered it in the electronic medical record. For the record to sell that data, or sell you intermediary programs to download it to your registry, is infuriating,” Van Beek told Politico. “You’re already paying the vendor an enormous amount of money just to be your vendor.”

Providers also fear legal action from EHR vendors over broken contracts if they do seek another vendor for registry solutions. One major EHR vendor has threatened to send cease and desist letters to physicians using another vendor’s registry software, Politico reports.

Representatives from the American Board of Family Medicine addressed their vendor data blocking frustrations in a letter this summer to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), but ONC responded that they need new regulations to pursue data blockers.

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