As more providers adopt electronic medical record systems, expect to see more disputes between competing vendors protecting their turf, as well as access issues between vendors and their provider clients. In the latest salvo, urology EMR vendor MeridianEMR has sued rival Intuitive Medical Software and one of Meridian's customers, for "malicious interference with and conversion of Meridian's confidential and proprietary information."
According to a lawsuit, filed June 16 in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey, Intuitive, which offers an EMR system called UroChart, sought to unlawfully decipher Meridian's encrypted software to gain an unfair competitive advantage. Meridian claims that Shappley Clinic, a urology practice based in Germantown, Tenn., unlawfully provided Intuitive with access to a computer server that Meridian had installed at Shappley, and that a "clone" server was created containing Meridian's confidential information.
Meridian also claimed that the defendants' actions were "in violation of patient privacy rights."
Meridian had asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the defendants from accessing, disposing of, or using information on the clone server. A judge denied the request, noting that the server in question was currently being safeguarded by a third party and that the defendants didn't have access to it. Meridian's suit for damages is still pending.
This is not first time disputes have arisen involving EMR vendors and their competitors and clients. In 2006 several doctors accused EMR vendor Dr. Notes of denying them access to their EMRs because they refused to pay additional sums for technical support.