JAMA: The Vendor “Hold Harmless Clause” Racket

JAMA has a blockbuster article on Health IT vendor ‘Hold Harmless’ contracts. Linux Medical News readers know is just the tip of the proprietary Electronic Medical Record iceburg such as the interoperability scam, the failed EMR business quandry, and the sustainability conundrum among many other things that has yet to be widely discussed. Courageous and forward-thinking past LMN contributor Scot Silverstein has a number of further analyses here and here. ‘…As a former CMIO/Director of Informatics I would never have signed such a contract. Period. (Of course, CMIO’s and Directors of Informatics don’t generally sign or even see health IT contracts, as they are Chiefs and Directors of Nothing.) Have hospital executives, boards of directors and counsel been violating their responsibilities and obligations every time they’ve signed a healthcare IT “hold vendors harmless, it’s all on your docs” and “shhhh! keep the defects secret” contract? Have they abused their positions of trust?…’ Editor’s note: Unfortunately the knee-jerk solution will likely be to change the proprietary contracts which naturally the proprietary vendors will want more money for. The real answer is education among purchasers to only use EMR software that is Affero General Public Licensed and a law that states that all Electronic Medical Records purchased with federal funds be Affero General Public Licensed.

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