But the backup options included sticking with the vendor and taking the free upgrade.

Vendor eClinicalWorks has to offer customers EHR upgrades and it must transfer client’s data to a competitive EHR if asked, both for free per their settlement agreement with the Department of Justice.

Healthcare IT News asked readers to weigh in on what eClinicalWorks customers should do. Of the four options – stick with the vendor, take a free upgrade, transfer to another vendor or “other” – the majority of respondents suggested the vendor transfer their data to a competitor’s EHR.

Many are watching closely how eClinicalWorks handles this issue – and the options their customers choose – because as analysts have suggested, the EHR market is poised for consolidation, mergers and acquisitions.

With so much data and money on the line for IT shops, not to mention the work to manage that data during a potential transitional process, the poll was our most popular with readers and logged more than 1,300 votes.

[Also: eClinicalWorks to pay $155 million to settle suit alleging it faked meaningful use certification]

Concern about the cost of a change was noted a couple of times in “other” comments. “Probably stay – issues are now resolved and cost to jump would be counterproductive.” And suggestions to “shop around and then decide to take the upgrade or switch” and “wait and watch” were pragmatic.

While quips like “Go back to paper” and “light torches, sharpen pitchforks” came up several times.

Several readers focused on next steps with comments about how to manage the suit’s mandate that the EHR vendor retain an Independent Software Quality Oversight Organization, essentially providing a watchdog for the Inspector General.

“Begin a guided customer forum with ONC help. Upgrade and make a migration plan. Stabilize care issues and attestations in process.”

We’re keeping the poll open for others to weigh in on this closely watched development in the EHR market and will update our results next week if the tide shifts based on new feedback.