HIT Trends Summary for June 2011

This is a summary of the HIT Trends report for June 2011.  You can get the current issue or subscribe here.

EMRs in the cloud. There is additional validation this month by MarketsandMarkets that the EMR market has heated with compound annual growth rates over the next couple of years pegged at nearly 20%.  Analysts report that EMRs delivered over the Internet are a fast growing segment appealing to small practices. One new example is the Allscripts’ MyWay EMR is being offered by Costco in a hosted version for as low at $499 per physician per month.  This could be an emerging market price now-a-days for a low-end hosted or web-based solution. This leaves some room for disrupters underneath to position at a lower price or premium pricing with differentiating services.  We saw a similar idea pursued by Sam’s Club and Dell last year without much success.

The AMA also clarified one of its ideas for this Internet EMR market by marrying e-prescribing and registry functions to meet stage 1 meaningful use.  DrFirst is the e-prescribing app.  DocSite and WellCentive are participating registry-oriented EMRs. It is a welcome new alternative that should get significant market attention.

EMRs and care coordination. Care plans have become the foundation for care coordination.  This is one of the lessons learned from a report by eHI.  Yet it finds that additional EMR functional support is needed.  Oncology patients report they want to collaborate with their physicians. The report tracks two detailed case studies at Taconic IPA and Community Health Center in CT.  The EMRs are useful but insufficient to support care coordination.   Workarounds are available through increased staffing.

And we learn from a QuantiaMD survey that physicians are increasingly using smartphones and tablets in their offices, mostly to look for information, but also to interact with patients. QuantiaMD is the largest online and mobile physician collaboration network with 125,000 physician users that review medical cases and short (5-8 minute) presentations.

Insurers are trying patient mobile apps to help get their messages to physicians when they are with the patient.  The AMA story lead is that health plans are “hitching a ride into… the exam room on patient’s smartphones.”  We’ve reported that physicians underutilize insurer info about formularies, medication history and gaps.  This is another way to help collaboration.

And Humana announced it will help fund Allscripts EMRs if linked to its provider outcomes quality program. This should be an effective way to deliver the value inherent in insurer clinical claims to physicians.  The incentives are focused on outcomes and some key process measures.  By including the EMR in the workflow we should also be to close the loop on gaps in care.

Consultants analyze new markets. C A number of major consultants released reports on the nature of some emerging HIT markets.  CSC reports on the global telehealth market and global health reform efforts.  They recommend pilots that address immediate problems with plans for scale.  Most countries have multiple initiatives using the Internet and mobile devices to support health reform efforts.

IBM notes that a big growth area is a segment it calls, Information Seekers, the space between the between the motivated healthy and the chronically monitored being approached by both medical device and mobile health companies.  They want more control over potential health risks or difficult to manage conditions.  This report provides a simple model for understanding some of the market dynamics surrounding consumer mobile health.  The big middle market is at stake. The report outlines principles for market capture that point to the dual capabilities for both consumer orientation and B2B market competence.  The authors correctly stress the importance of the ecosystem.

And PwC identifies a way for large companies to thrive in the current healthcare market. These “health prospectors” are in technology, telecommunications and/or retail.  The PwC report is “The new gold rush.”  Headlines include the idea that consumers will pay for health games, provider ratings and mobile health.  And how health IT is a growing part of U.S. health expenses.

And yet Google and Thomson Reuters announce their exits. The common elements here include the amount of investment required to keep up in U.S. healthcare markets and how companies are looking for strong synergies with other aspects of a more global market.

Art of HIT. The art is this month is Pow Wow (1979), by Roy Lichtenstein.  It speaks to the heated dialog between providers and rule makers over the next phases of meaningful use and health reform.  While the Feds released some interesting tools and delayed stage 2 by a year, the insurers are taking the lead with commercial programs and beginning to engage providers in discussions of accountable care.

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. He publishes the HIT Trends report monthly and the CHaT Trends report quarterly.  For more information, please see www.circlesquareinc.com.

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