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EHR in the Cloud Portends Big Shift in HIT

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, February 4, 2014

An electronic health record system provider is offering to equip small physicians practices with cloud-based software on a shoestring. The move is making high-end EHRs that cost tens of millions of dollars to get up and running look like dinosaurs, at least at small health systems.


Trotter

Samsung Chromebook

One reason physicians have gravitated to mobile devices is the steep discount that phone carriers have passed along to customers to get their hands on the latest hot smartphone. Now that same trend has come to the doctor's office desktop—without the usual two-year commitment.

Practice Fusion, which for several years has given away free, web-based EHR software to small practices of 15 physicians or fewer, upped its game last month by announcing that it would make available one Chromebook per practice to anyone willing to sign up for its cloud EHR.

It's a marketing gimmick, but what a gimmick. Recipients sign no contract, and could basically take the Chromebook and run. Confident officials at Practice Fusion, riding a surge of adoption in 2013, believe recipients will like its cloud EHR enough to stay.

The venture-backed company is one of several big bets that individual practices are not going the way of the dinosaur. From their perspective, the endangered species is more likely to be the high-end EHRs that require tens of millions of dollars to get up and running at large systems.

To an extent, it's a comparison of apples and oranges. Practice Fusion cannot run a hospital. But as the industry moves away from hospitals and toward primary care as the main source of its revenue, equipping a small practice with cloud-based Meaningful Use Stage 2-compliant software on a shoestring budget holds a certain appeal.

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2 comments on "EHR in the Cloud Portends Big Shift in HIT"


sushant.saraswat (2/11/2014 at 4:22 AM)
Last year has been very eventful for the Healthcare IT industry, with the widespread adoption of HIPPA, Hitech regulations and the approaching deadlines for Healthcare organizations to switch to EHRs have definitely led to some systems being implemented in a chaotic manner without due importance given to meaningful use, also aiding to this turmoil is the constantly changing regulatory landscape. Do let me know your views on this. For EHRs to be really transformational , one needs an system which is flexible, interoperable and can adapt to changing compliance requirements easily. Following up on this, I came across and registered for a webinar on Healthcare IT: Role of EDI in Affordable Care Act Reforms, it looks a promising one http://j.mp/1b4qJC3

Frank Poggio (2/5/2014 at 11:55 AM)
Free hardware, free conversion, almost free software. What a deal! Think about it, this marketing move says a lot about how the ARRA MU program has failed. After three years if the docs are still that reluctant to jump in that you have to entice them with big freebees while the govt gives them subsidies...then by all accounts it's a failed program. By the way if anyone really thinks these are freebees, I have a bridge...