Less than two months after agreeing to a $155 million settlement with federal prosecutors, the overall perception of eClinicalWorks has worsened among its customers, even as some indicated the allegations were unsurprising.
In May, the EHR vendor agreed to a record settlement with the Department of Justice to resolve allegations that it failed to meet Meaningful Use requirements and falsely obtained EHR certification, thereby triggering fraudulent EHR incentive payments from the government.
Two-thirds of customers said their perception of the eClinicalWorks has deteriorated since the settlement, according to a survey by KLAS, a health IT consulting and research group based in Utah. Of the 50 provider executives, directors and physicians that responded, more than a quarter said their view of the company had “significantly worsened.”
“eClinicalWorks isn’t accepting any accountability for their actions, and that is a red flag for us,” one survey respondent wrote.
But 20% of respondents also said they weren’t surprised by the allegations, pointing to warning signs that have been building for some time. One respondent said the company has been “cutting corners for years.”
“We were going to be replacing eClinicalWorks anyway prior to this,” one respondent said. “This just makes the decision to leave much easier.”
That appears to be the consensus for several other customers. Overall dissatisfaction was the driving force behind those looking to switch to another system; just 4% said they were replacing the system due to the settlement. KLAS analysts said it was too early to tell how the settlement would impact long-term sales, but, at least initially, fewer potential customers were giving the company serious consideration.
Other respondents noted that the rest of the EHR vendor community could face similar legal scrutiny. In the aftermath of the settlement, former officials with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) said eClinicalWorks was not the only one sidestepping certification requirements.
Investigators appear to be focused on that concern. Shortly after the settlement, the Office of the Inspector General issued a report indicating the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued $729 million in improper EHR incentive payments between 2011 and 2014. The agency recently added another review of Medicare EHR incentive payments made to hospitals.