The ONC Health IT Complaint Form That Has No Teeth

Posted on September 14, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Neil Versel over on MedCityNews just reported that the ONC Healthcare IT Complain form that was announced on Friday is not working. If you go and visit the health IT complaint form, it just says “You are not authorized to access this page.”

While it’s quite ironic that the complaint form is down, I’m pretty sure it’s a simple fix. I’ve seen that error before on many websites and I’m guessing the ONC/HHS web people just need to make the form go live and then the page will load properly with the form.

I was discussing the irony of the form being down with Neil Versel on Facebook and I told him that I was more interested in what ONC is going to do with the complaints than whether the form was working or not. If ONC isn’t going to do anything with the complaints they receive, then the form might as well be down. Submitting a healthcare IT complaint to an organization that can do nothing about it might be a little cathartic, but not very much. In fact, over time it just leads to more anger that people have complained and nothing’s been done.

I asked Neil, “Do they [ONC] have any power to do anything?” He answered, “No. The HIT Safety Center they are working on is basically toothless.”

That’s been my impression as well. ONC would love to do something about it, but they don’t have many levers they can pull. The worst they could do is terminate an EHR’s certification, but they’ve been doing that already.

Neil and I did discuss that maybe all of the data they receive from their healthcare IT complaint form could be used to make a case for why they need more options available for them to punish bad actors in healthcare IT. As it is it seems the only thing they can offer healthcare IT complainers is some empathy. Of course, they can’t do that until they get their form working. Where’s the form I can fill out to let ONC know that their complaint form isn’t working?