As more hospitals are adopting EHRs, many are finding that their doctors are dissatisfied with those systems. One group of doctors has a solution: 

Sue the EHR vendor.

Four physician practices have filed a class action lawsuit against software maker Allscripts, claiming they were misled by the company about its EHR system’s features and functionality.

Among the complaints leveled against Allscripts:

  • The system failed to meet the federal requirements for EHR incentives, despite the company claiming that it would
  • Even after thousands of dollars and dozens of hours spent on the implementation and training, the system still didn’t work properly, and
  • Installing the system led to a significant drop in revenue for the practices.

The doctors said they tried to get a refund and a chance to end their contracts, but Allscripts wouldn’t comply. The company declined to comment.

Stopping problems before they start

Reportedly, more doctors have been lining up to join in the class action suit. That’s not surprising, considering the current state of satisfaction with EHR systems.

In a March survey from AmericanEHR Partners, just 27% of doctors said they were satisfied with the EHR system they’re currently using — down from 39% who said the same thing in 2010. In addition, 39% said they would not recommend their current system to a colleague. That was up from 24% who said so a few years ago.

While a lawsuit may help hospitals undo some damage in particularly bad cases, the best-case scenario, of course, is to choose the right EHR system in the first place. Here are some steps hospitals can take while looking for a system that can prevent problems later on:

  • Focus on usability — One of the biggest mistakes hospitals make is choosing a system that is difficult for doctors, nurses and other employees to use. It helps to get those people involved in the selection process to find out what they need.
  • Help productivity — Even if a system is easy to use, efficiency will probably drop somewhat when it’s first implemented. Hospitals should prepare by boosting staffing levels temporarily and make sure enough technical support is available at first.
  • Get vendor references — One important step of the selection process is checking a vendor’s references to find out what similar organizations have experienced when using the company’s software.
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