- The Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently fined eClinicalWorks $132,000 for failing to report patient safety issues to the regulatory body as reportable events in a timely manner.
The health IT company is required to report patient safety issues as reportable events as part of a corporate integrity agreement (CIA) with OIG.
eClinicalworks entered into the CIA agreement in 2017 to resolve allegations that it had misled users about the certification of its EHR technology and paid some customers kickbacks in return for positive product promotion.
In addition to signing the CIA, eClinicalWorks also paid a $155 million settlement over the allegations.
According to the CIA, eClinicalWorks is required to develop and implement policies, procedures and practices to ensure adherence to EHR software standards, timely and effective identification, notification, reporting, and remediation of EHR usability problems or defects that may pose a threat to patient safety, as well as compliance with anti-kickback statutes and other requirements.
The health IT company is required to comply with the CIA for five years after the million settlement.
eClinicalWorks is subject to a payment penalty of $1,000 per day it “fails to comply fully and adequately with any obligation of this CIA,” according to the document.
The $155 million settlement contributed to a growing distrust among providers about the legitimacy of health IT certifications, as well as the trustworthiness of EHR vendors in general.
According to a 2017 study, 27 percent of surveyed providers cited the settlement as having decreased their confidence in their current EHR vendor.
“Now I wonder about our EHR,” wrote one anonymous provider in response to the survey. “They have been certified but it does not seem to meet the requirements for stage 2 nor can I ever meet with anyone to get the program changed to make it more compliant.”
Improving the transparency of the health IT certification process may help to restore the reputation of EHR certification and health IT companies in general.
Mary Washington Healthcare Goes Live with Epic EHR
Elsewhere in EHR vendor news, Virginia-based Mary Washington Healthcare (MWHC) recently went live with a new Epic EHR implementation after nearly two years of preparation.
The health system went live with Epic on June 2 in an effort to improve health data access and exchange for providers and enable better-informed clinical decision-making.
“This system will position us for the future by streamlining and enhancing our services while providing our customers with the ability to have a greater role in managing their own healthcare,” said MWHC President and CEO Mike McDermott, MD.
The new system will allow MWHC to operate on a single, unified EHR system rather than multiple systems from different vendors for improved provider communication and information exchange across care settings.
MWHC providers will have timely access to patient medications, allergies, immunization records, lab results, and health histories. Meanwhile, patients will have the opportunity to use the Epic MyChart patient portal to pay bills, as well as view their EHRs and appointment information.
“Bringing this EHR to our organization has been has been a tremendous undertaking,” said McDermott. “We’ve asked a lot of our associates during this process and they’ve risen to the challenge time and again. I’m so very proud of everyone who has had a hand in the planning, building, and launch of our new EHR and want to thank them for their hard work and dedication.”
“This is a very exciting milestone for Mary Washington Healthcare that ensures we will be able to meet the growing and diverse healthcare needs of our customers and community well into the future,” McDermott continued.
The health system prepared for its Epic go-live for 18 months to ensure a seamless transition.
“End users stayed positive and followed the support directions. Our senior leadership has been so supportive throughout the entire process,” said MWHC CIO Justin Box.
MWHC is currently in the midst of an EHR optimization project scheduled to last several months.
“We’ve finished the quick fixes; now we’re looking at longer-term things,” said MWHC Epic Project Director Jennifer Freeland.
MWHC is a regional not-for-profit health system with more than 40 facilities, including a 451-bed regional medical center and a 100-bed community hospital.
Ireland Hospital Goes Live with MEDITECH Web EHR
Galway Clinic recently became the first hospital in Ireland and the United Kingdom to go live with MEDITECH Expanse.
The 146-bed hospital launched MEDITECH’s web-based EHR offering to improve patient safety and care coordination.
The web-based health IT solution includes both an EHR system and an integrated Patient Administration System (PAS).
“Over the past two years, staff across our organization and MEDITECH have been working diligently to ensure the journey to the new solution was a complete success,” said Galway Clinic CIO Raphael Jaffrezic. “Leveraging the contemporary Expanse EHR enhances our commitment to our mission, improving the health and quality of life of the individuals and communities served.”
To ensure a smooth implementation, Galway convened a task force called the eCuram project in charge of overseeing the launch.
Galway recently revalidated its Stage 6 HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) status.
“This is a two-way partnership — we know we can continue to depend on MEDITECH to be a cornerstone and get our organization to the next level in achieving HIMSS Stage 7 in the near future,” said Jaffrezic.
The web-based EHR system will offer patients a patient portal to streamline appointment scheduling, bill pay, and health record access.
“The MEDITECH PAS and EHR solutions unite clinical and administrative staff at the Galway Clinic to provide the highest quality patient care,” said Senior Vice President of Client Services at MEDITECH Steve Koretz.