EHR vendors blocking docs from sharing data with specialty registries

Locked record

Electronic health record vendors are interfering with physicians’ ability to share data with registries operated by specialty societies.

Specialty registries, such as tumor registries, are particularly effective at analyzing data regarding that condition. Data exchange between registries and physicians have also shown to improve patient care.

However, according to an article in Politico, many specialties use third-party software over that of their EHR vendors, which view the separate software as competition. The societies have accused the vendors of delaying requests for data exchange, quoting “prohibitive” prices for integration or outright refusing consent to transmit and instead offering to sell physicians their own software to send data to the registries.

Several vendors were named as engaging in blocking conduct. One vendor, according to Politico, has threatened to send cease-and-desist letters to physicians who have installed third-party registry software onto their systems. 

The inability of specialty society registries to obtain the full complement of data could adversely impact research and the tracking of health. This has already been noted as a concern regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s encouragement of using EHR data in clinical trials. Physicians who cannot report effectively could run into trouble complying with the reporting obligations of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. However, physicians also are afraid to complain about the vendors.

“You’ve already collected this data, as a provider. You’ve entered it in the electronic medical record. For the record to sell that data, or sell you intermediary programs to download it to your registry, is infuriating,” Marta Van Beek, co-chair of the American Academy of Dermatology’s registry committee, told Politico. “You’re already paying the vendor an enormous amount of money just to be your vendor.”

Compliance, in that scenario, could set providers back as much as $100,000 per year, Van Beek said.

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