How Not to Handle EHR Certification Problems

Today I was thinking back on how differently EHR vendors have handled EHR Certification problems. First, take a look at the $155 million whistleblower lawsuit that eCW (eClinicalWorks) suffered thanks to improper EHR certification (amidst other things). They had to have known what they were doing and didn’t come clean.

$155 million is just the first price they had to pay. Since then, providers have filed a class action lawsuit against eCW and the family of a patient also filed a lawsuit against eCW. This a painful and expensive experience for eCW.

Anne Zieger reported in August last year that the eCW settlement hadn’t led to customer defections (yet?), but we’ll see how that plays out over time. It makes me wonder if the eCW founder, Girish Navani, still feels the same about never selling your EHR company. Maybe these lawsuits have made him wish he’d taken a buy out offer after all, but I digress.

Today I remembered a situation where another EHR vendor had issues with how their certified EHR attested to meaningful use data. It was back in 2011, so I’m pretty sure many of you have forgotten it. Plus, I expect many of you have forgotten it because the EHR vendor in this case took ownership of the error and fixed it. Of course, this EHR vendor hasn’t fared quite as well as eCW in the marketplace. However, their choice to hide their certification issue would have no doubt made their market position even worse.

The clear message I see in these two stories is something we see often in the US. If you own up to mistakes and do your best to make them right, humans are surprisingly forgiving. However, if you hide it, then the damage can often be much worse than the crime.

I also loved this question I asked back in 2011 about the meaningful use and EHR certification program which are still relevant today when it comes to these complex programs:

“If a large EHR vendor that’s intimately involved in the meaningful use rule creation process can mess up some of the meaningful use guidelines, how many other EHR vendors are going to do the same?”

I didn’t know about eCW’s issues back in 2011, but I obviously could see how easily the eCW issues could happen. Has anything changed with EHR certification and now MACRA and MIPS to make us think that this has gotten any better? Should we be asking, whose the next EHR vendor that will have issues? Will it be because of deliberate skirting of the law or just overly complex, unclear, and changing government requirements?

Yes, you can believe that I’m with those organizations that have called for an end to EHR certification. I’ve been against it since I first heard about it and still don’t see how it’s provided any value since. Pro-EMR I am. Pro-EMR Certification I am not.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.