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KLAS Survey: eClinicalWorks Loses Favor Among Customers Following DOJ Settlement

July 28, 2017
by Heather Landi
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Nearly two-thirds of eClinicalWorks’ customers (66 percent) say that their opinion of the electronic health record (EHR) vendor has worsened since the vendor agreed to a $155 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to resolve False Claims Act allegations.

The settlement was announced back in May. eClinicalWorks is an ambulatory EHR vendor, and according to the DOJ, the company allegedly violated federal law by misrepresenting the capabilities of its software and for allegedly paying kickbacks to certain customers in exchange for promoting its product. In its complaint-in-intervention, the federal government alleges that the Westborough, Mass.-based EHR vendor “falsely obtained that certification for its EHR software when it concealed from its certifying entity that its software did not comply with the requirements for certification.” As previously reported by Healthcare Informatics, the Justice Department alleges in its compliant that, as a result of the deficiencies in eClinicalWorks’ software, providers using eClinicalWorks’ software submitted false claims for federal incentive payments.

Orem, Utah-based KLAS Research conducted a post-settlement survey of eClinicalWorks users to get a snapshot of customer reactions to the DOJ settlement and to see how their satisfaction and future plans with the vendor had changed.

It seems the settlement’s biggest impact has been on customer perception of eClinicalWorks, as 66 percent said that their opinion of the vendor has declined, and about one-fifth described the settlement using words like “unsurprising,” indicating that their personal concerns about the vendor’s ethics and business practices have now been confirmed, according to the KLAS report. Twenty-six percent said that their opinion of the vendor “significantly worsened,” and 32 percent said the settlement had no impact on their opinion.

According to KLAS, a small subset, less than 5 percent, of respondents feel that the increased governmental oversight will cause the vendor to improve the customer experience and make things better in the long run.

While more than a third (34 percent) of respondents plan to leave, only 4 percent of respondents specifically state that they are leaving because of the settlement. Prior to the settlement, 28 percent of eClinicalWorks users said they planned to replace eClinicalWorks with another vendor. Post-settlement, 31 percent of respondents said they are dissatisfied with eClinicalWorks, but are keeping its system.

Regarding those respondents, KLAS researchers wrote, “Another third feel stuck in their contract but would like to switch and may do so when their contract expires or more resources become available. The final third are satisfied with their overall experience; they feel the announcement has relatively little impact on them as they have already qualified for meaningful use money or think eClinicalWorks is just the first of many vendors that will come under scrutiny.”

In the report, one of the respondents, an IT director, is quoted saying, “In my opinion, eClinicalWorks was in the unlucky position of being first. What happened to them is a shot across the bow by the feds to the industry as a whole. Other EHR vendors will have negative findings against them in the future as well.”

Today, eClinicalWorks announces its second quarter sales results, stating that revenues have reached $120 million across its EHR, population health and patient engagement market segments. The vendor stated that it had added more than 3,000 providers to its network of small, midsize and large enterprise client base, including federally qualified health centers, ambulatory surgery centers, and accountable care organizations. Also, the vendor stated that more than 1,000 providers selected eClinicalWorks’ EHR solution in June.

“In the first six months of 2017, 70 percent of eClinicalWorks' new providers switched from different EHRs, which included Greenway, Allscripts, NextGen, athenahealth, and Practice Partner. Organizations are switching to eClinicalWorks because it offers a suite of tightly integrated cloud solutions to help practices deliver quality care, increase ROI, and attract new patients,” the company stated in a press release.

According to KLAS researchers, the vendor, like many other longstanding ambulatory EMR vendors, has seen a decline in market consolidation over the past five years as providers have moved toward integrated inpatient/outpatient options. “Through the first half of 2017, serious consideration of eClinicalWorks by potential customers was close to the level KLAS has observed over the previous two years. While providers have actively considered and selected eClinicalWorks, their overall market growth has been kept in check by the number of customers that have left,” the KLAS researchers wrote.

What’s more, the researchers state that the recent nature of the settlement limits’ the consulting firms’ insight into how it will affect ambulatory EMR considerations, “but initial indications show a potential drop in serious consideration of eClinicalWorks as a replacement EMR.” The KLAS researchers also note that it remains to be seen how the news may impact acute care EMR decisions in which eClinicalWorks 10i is being considered.

 

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