There’s a new player in the push to digitize patients’ medical records, which is a big ($19 billion) part of president Barack Obama’s $900 billion healthcare reform plan: Computer colossus Dell.
The Round Rock, Texas-based PC giant is joining a raft of companies large and small in the electronic medical records pool, including General Electric, I.B.M., Verizon, Athenahealth, eClinicalWorks and Practice Fusion.
Dell said it plans to offer an EMR solution for hospital-affiliated physician practices “to accelerate the sharing and meaningful use of digital patient information among hospitals and physician practices,” according to a press release.
The product, sponsored by hospitals for affiliated physicians, is aimed at making the transition to digital records more affordable and practical. Hospitals and small practices have been slow adopt the technology because of its complexity and expense.
Dell will supply the hardware and act as a “general contractor,” marshalling the services of partners to provide an EMR package to physicians. Houston’s Memorial Hermann Healthcare System and Tufts Medical Center here in Boston are already running pilot programs for Dell, which earlier this year joined forces with Wal-Mart to offer EMR services to small practices.
“The technology has to be a simplified, affordable package for physicians,” Jamie Coffin, general manager of Dell’s healthcare business, told the New York Times. “We’re really going after this market in a concerted way.”
Athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush told the Times that his company is planning a marketing blitz later this month aimed at expediting the adoption of its offerings. And there’s been increased interest in Practice Fusion’s advertising-supported, free Web-based patient records system since the government program was announced, CEO Ryan Howard told the newspaper.