To the Editor:
Our practice's implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) was a miserable failure that cost us significant cash and time. We gave up after struggling for eight weeks to implement our EHR. Unfortunately, I was starting a new practice so I did not have paper charts to go back to. I had to attempt to transfer the information from the EHR to paper and create a charting and filing system. The old-fashioned charts are now working seamlessly, which is more than can be said for the EHR system, but the vendor withheld 30 percent of my actual cash payment when I canceled our contract.
Unfortunately I lost two months' production at an estimated $35,000. I spent over $10,000 in staff time troubleshooting the system and providing technical support. To top it off, the software company would not reimburse the $9,000 I had paid for training costs.
As a solo physician opening a new practice and trying to “do it right,” this was quite a learning experience. I was astonished to find out how unprepared EHRs are to work in the real world – and how expensive their mistakes can be.
My cancellation contract with the software company effectively placed a gag order on me, so I cannot post the name of the company or the product. However, I can answer questions about the product and the company. Readers may e-mail me at email@example.com. I've been amazed at how many other doctors have had similar experiences with EHR implementations.