Questions raised about 'sponsored' CDS alerts

Sponsored electronic health record alerts are a boon to some and a concern to others, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Clinical decision support alerts are common in EHRs, but most of them are not sponsored, which means that they're not being paid for by pharmaceutical manufacturers, labs and others. On the other hand, some EHR vendors, such as Practice Fusion, sell the alerts to Merck and other buyers, raising issues of whether the alerts cross the line from patient care to marketing, according to the article.

Practice Fusion for its part defends the alerts, noting that this defrays the cost of the systems, which are free to physicians. The company also says they improve care, such as in increasing vaccination rates. The article notes that the activity probably does not violate the federal anti-kickback statute. Article

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