Physicians and Dentists – Know the Hidden Costs of Your Technology/Marketing Contracts

Many website design and development contracts as well as marketing and electronic medical records agreements (“technology contracts”) contain onerous terms and layers of user fees. If a physician or a dentist (“provider”) decides to part ways with the vendor under a technology contract the transition may be costly or cost prohibitive. One of the best ways providers can protect themselves against a slue of additional costs and concerns about possible loss of data is to have the contract reviewed by a healthcare attorney before signing on the dotted line.

Thinking “it’s not a big deal” providers sometimes pay little attention to technology contracts or the legal ramifications of onerous terms may not be evident without legal analysis. But once the relationship has soured they may look for ways to end an unfavorable relationship and move forward without disrupting their workflow while keeping the website running.

Often providers come to us with such questions after the technology contract is well underway. Our evaluation often leads to shock and disappointment as providers discover numerous additional costs and fees as well as other onerous terms embedded in the technology contract. The typical reaction is:

“I already paid them so much money and I still have to pay?”

“It is a website designed for my practice, how is it that I don’t have control over it?”

Based on the contracts we evaluated post-signing there are many problematic terms hidden in microscopic font that become controlling when providers are looking to end a problematic relationship. Equally important to understand is what is included in the fees providers pay for the services and if there are any exclusions that would require additional provider fees. For example, will the website meet or exceed the standards of ADA accessibility requirements or will the provider incur additional costs?

Likewise, it is important to know if the provider’s website or marketing is exposing them to disciplinary Board action or lawsuits and liability from potential patients or their respective Boards for misleading information and marketing.

Technology contracts contain many important and unique terms that may be costly and either prevent a provider from moving to a company of their preference or be so cost prohibitive that, despite being dissatisfied, a provider remains tethered to their existing technology contract for the foreseeable future.

An analysis by a healthcare attorney prior to signing a technology contract can alert a provider to problematic terms and either lead to a contract negotiated with more favorable terms or give the provider an opportunity to find a technology/marketing company that better suits their marketing and legal needs.

If you have questions about your technology contract please contact our office.