Two years after the controversial sunsetting of its MyWay EHR product, Allscripts Healthcare is still feeling the sting from unhappy stakeholders seeking to take the company to task for its dealings with its business partners and consumers. After engaging in several lawsuits in 2012 and 2013 involving the ill-fated product, Allscripts has been found guilty of deceptive business practices in North Carolina by an arbitration panel that decided in the favor of Etransmedia Technology, a reseller of MyWay products.
At one time, MyWay was a flagship brand for Allscripts, which remains one of the most recognized vendors in the health IT space. The EHR was targeted to smaller physician practices looking to adopt new technologies at the beginning of the EHR Incentive Programs, but was not certified to meet Stage 2 meaningful use requirements. Etransmedia asserted that Allscripts promised that MyWay would achieve Stage 2 EHR certification from the ONC and be upgraded to meet ICD-10 requirements.
Etransmedia pre-purchased MyWay licenses in order to resell the product under the assumption that its clients would be able to attest to Stage 2. The reseller acquired millions of dollars in MyWay licenses, and also hosted data for Allscripts clients. However, in October of 2012, Allscripts announced that it would be phasing out technical support and services for MyWay, leaving providers holding uncertified, unsupported software. The product cost an average of $30,000 per physician to implement at the time.
The three-person arbitration panel found that Allscripts violated the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by deliberately making false promises that sabotaged Etransmedia’s business prospects. It also found that the Allscripts Professional product was not a reasonable substitution under the partnership agreement it held with Etransmedia.
“It was a hard-fought victory for a company of our size against a giant $1.4 billion publicly traded company like Allscripts,” said Vikram Agrawal, President and CEO of Etransmedia. “We presented the facts, and the arbitration panel concluded that Allscripts took advantage of us through its deceptive trade practices. We stood up for what we believe, and were proven right.”
After announcing the discontinuation of MyWay, Allscripts found itself fighting against Aprima Medical Software, which claimed that it would “rescue” MyWay users who had been “abandoned” by the vendor. Aprima agreed to modify its advertising copy. The EHR vendor is currently in the midst of a class action suit brought by several frustrated physicians suing for damages related to MyWay fees and the subsequent costs of scrambling to replace the product with a new EHR.
Despite the ongoing conflict over MyWay, the closure of a dozen offices, and a recent reshuffle of executive leadership, Allscripts has reported strong financial health since the beginning of 2014 due to an increase in customers and the renewal of critical contracts. It has also achieved recognition for the quality of its products from independent organizations such as KLAS and Black Book Rankings.
Update: An Allscripts representative has provided the following statement on today’s decision.
“While we respectfully disagree with the panel’s award, we look forward to putting this matter behind us. The new management team at Allscripts is committed to strengthening and expanding relationships with our partners and to supporting our suite of products and services to help transform and improve the healthcare experience.”