ONC Contract Guidance Attempts To Level The EHR Playing Field

Marla Durben Hirsch | Fierce EMR | August 1, 2013

Regular readers of FierceEMR know that I tend to be cynical about new developments. I don't take them at face value and delve deeper to see if there's anything in addition going on behind the scenes. And so it is with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's new "legal" guidance on EHR contract terms.

I love this new guidebook, called "EHR Contracts: Key Contract Terms for Users to Understand." It identifies seven provisions commonly found in vendor contracts, explains what they mean, what electronic health record purchasers need to know, and other related issues.

It's a very good tool, written in plain English. But the guidebook--not unlike ONC's surveillance guidance for ONC-Authorized Certificating Bodies, also issued in July--has deeper significance for the industry. Let's review the evidence...