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On May 11, 2017, the European Cloud in Health Advisory Council (ECHAC) – a group of healthcare organizations, technology companies and patient representatives  –  launched its second whitepaper focused on use of data to improve health outcomes and delivery of care.

ECHAC launched the whitepaper at an eHealth Week 2017 session attended by ECHAC participants

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a new guide for prospective buyers of Electronic Health Record systems (EHRs).  ONC provides detailed information and suggestions that merit the serious consideration of anyone that contracts or plans to contract with an EHR vendor.

ONC begins with a broad introduction that explains what kinds of options exist and offers advice on how to select an appropriate system. Then, ONC provides detailed advice on a number of important topics, including safety and security, system performance, data rights, interoperability, IP, risk management, dispute resolution, and transitions.  For each of these topics, ONC identifies common pitfalls and provides buyer friendly form contract language.  Sprinkled throughout the guide are descriptions of common pitfalls and advice about how to avoid them.  Some of these points are worth further emphasis.

ONC notes that some buyers have complained about inconsistencies between vendor demonstrations and their actual products. It is important to remember that marketing materials and demonstrations are not necessarily reliable.  ONC suggests requiring that any such materials presented to a buyer be attached and incorporated into the final EHR contract.  Furthermore, core service and performance obligations should be memorialized with express warranties.  This should provide some security against falling victim to a bait and switch.

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