Thursday, August 20, 2009

On HIT Vendor Nondisclosure of Nondisclosure Agreements

Seen at the HIStalk blog in News of 8/19/09:

A couple of readers wisely suggested that I not consider running nondisclosure language from vendor contracts. Reasons: (a) it might identify the client since terms are often customized; (b) it might violate vendor privacy requirements and get a client or me in trouble; (c) clients might not want to share anyway since they may like the idea of being prohibited from sharing patient safety information. A couple of vendors e-mailed to say they don’t include such terms. I’d be very surprised if Cerner and Epic don’t based on my limited history with them.

My response to the HISTalk blog owner, Tim, and other interested parties:

Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 7:32 AM

To: HISTalk blog

Re: nondisclosure of nondisclosure agreements by HIT vendors


Those who've written advising you *not* to post the language of HIT nondisclosure agreements are in fact correct:

As per Koppel and Kreda's March 2009 "Hold Harmless" article in JAMA and my July 21 JAMA letter to the editor commenting on it, nondisclosure and hold harmless agreements stifle HIT innovation, put patients at risk, and cause healthcare executives to violate their Joint Commission and fiduciary responsibilities to protect patients and workers from undue physical or legal jeopardy.

You and other bloggers should *not* be the ones to clandestinely obtain and post such language. The HIT vendors themselves, in an atmosphere of transparency and in deference to patients safety and to hospital governance, should gladly and transparently do so if such language exists in their contracts.

This assumes, of course, that HIT vendors hold patient safety and practitioners' rights as a high priority.


I think that says what needs to be said.

-- SS

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