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HIT Trends Summary for June 2010

Picture 6This is a summary of the HIT Trends Report for June 2010. You can get the current issue here.


E-prescribing.
Not much to report here other than some feedback to the DEA around its long-awaited proposed rule to allow e-prescribing of controlled substances. Other than the Surescripts rightful defense of its history as an industry certifier, these are largely requests for clarification and cautions from the  pharmacy industry that smaller pharmacies may have some difficulties.

EHR. The big news this month is the Allscripts and Eclipsys combination. An integrated hospital and physician practice product will be increasingly important as hospitals reach out to affiliated practices with EMR solutions and plans to build clinically-integrated accountable care organizations. Also of note was the announcement by Dell and Practice Fusion to package up its software-as-a-service (SaaS) EMR for smaller practices. EMR suppliers are firming up their supply chains to make purchases as simple as possible. Dell has similar relationships with other companies including eClinicalWorks, Allscripts and others.  

GE Healthcare also followed up on its recent acquisition of MedPlexus, a SaaS EMR, with the launch of its Centricity Advance product for smaller practices. According to Health Data Management it’s being priced at $4K-$9K start up and $300-$800 per month. The launch event included a demo by a solo doc using the software and commentary by Newt Gingrich, Peter Basch, MD and others.

HITECH. HITECH this month focused on safety-net providers with grants to boost IT use and funds to figure out how they participate in reimbursement incentives. One project is part of a $2B HRSA grant under ARRA to expand health services to low-income and uninsured. Each recipient was awarded between $500,000 and $3M for new and enhanced EHR implementations and other uses. The other is a small grant to encourage participation of safety net providers in government programs. It’s a reminder that health IT in poorer communities is particularly challenging. Also out this month is a comprehensive policy view of HITECH by Manatt from an impressive cross-section of industry leadership.  Study was supported by CHCF, Colorado Health Foundation and UHF.

HIE .IDC has made a report available profiling and rating health information exchange solutions. It reports that the hospital-based enterprise HIE market will be the fastest growing because it doesn’t require data sharing among competitors and there’s a built in business reason to do it.
Care Communications. There’s an increase in press coverage of all aspects of tele-health with nice summaries of different aspects by a Sarasohn-Kahn special report for iHealthBeat and a spread in the  LA Times highlighting payer support. Payer benefits design is the key to future adoption. It’s an important ingredient of practice redesign.

WellPoint announced this week it will work with American Well in selected markets and United Healthcare also reported new telehealth services this week. RWJF announced a national pilot this month to assess the impact of physicians sharing clinical notes with patients at Beth Israel Deaconess, Geisinger and Harborview. The hypothesis is that this sharing will improve communications and trust and lead to shared decision-making and better outcomes. Another study, funded by the Good Samaritan Society, will wire up mid-westerners’ homes and connect them to nurses. This is a 3-year $8M grant to test the integration of passive home sensors and vital signs monitoring. This is case-building to argue for payer reimbursements.

Pharma HIT. Epocrates announced that physicians using its popular drug reference on the iPhone will be able to hit a Contact Manufacturer button associated with 40 Pfizer brands and get connected immediately by phone to a Pfizer medical information specialist to answer questions or to handle adverse event reporting. The iPhone is enabling this new communication. With EMR vendors linking into their own products with iPhone apps, it’s gaining momentum. Also this month, Quintiles, a leading clinical research organization joined a group of pharma manufacturers and NY medical centers to work on programs to match patients to clinical trials through the EMR. This is an encouraging step ahead towards the partnerships required to move into more streamlined translational medicine. The group also aims to educate HIT vendors about requirements which are first steps towards developing longer term business models.
Health Reform. The June issue of Health Affairs focused on health reform. Among the stories, Dr. Blumenthal and others link HITECH and health reform legislation. And Troy Brennan, CMO at CVS co-authored an insightful roadmap on the dynamics of reform for insurers. Troy worked on reform issues with Don Berwick, 15 years ago.

The Art of HIT. The art this month is Sunny Afternoon by Robert Bechtle, 1999. Like the photo-realists who spend days turning a snapshot into a something of lasting value, our HIT art is in the details, and from the looks of it, still uphill.

Michael Lake has been a healthcare technology strategist for over 30 years. He is President of Circle Square Inc., a San Francisco-based strategy, business development and market research firm, focused exclusively on the healthcare information technology market. The company works with healthcare, life sciences and technology companies on developing strategies, products and business models for complex multi-stakeholder healthcare environments. He publishes the HIT Trends Report monthly. For more information, please see www.michaellake.com.

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