Big Business Smells Money in the EHR Game

Article Highlights:
  • There is big money potential in electronic health records.
  • Some big health companies are already making electronic storage of health records available to individuals.
by Bill Norman on October 1, 2009 - 3:21pm

QUEST Vol. 16, No. 4

With more than $17 billion in taxpayer money up for grabs in the Obama administration’s plans to have an electronic health record (EHR) for every American, many large companies are jockeying for a piece of the action.

In May, a group of large businesses announced the formation of the EHR Stimulus Alliance with the avowed purpose of educating health care providers about the tools available to them to set up EHR systems. Included in the alliance: Microsoft, Allscripts, Dell and Intel.

Allscripts provides EHR technology to about 700 hospitals and 150,000 physicians, and plans for more.

Huge data storage systems like Google Health and Microsoft’s HealthVault allow patients to create their own personal health records, enter their personal information and make it available to doctors and others they approve. Wal-Mart also has entered the personal health data storage business, offering electronic records to 1.4 million employees and their dependents.

Both Microsoft and Google have formed partnerships with large health care providers like Kaiser Permanente and Mayo Clinic, so those providers can automatically transmit patient data into personal health records.

General Electric announced it has set aside $100 million for loans to physicians, hospitals and clinics to help them get started in purchasing EHR systems.

For more about electronic health records, check out Electronic Health Records for All: Panacea or Pandemonium? and VA's EHR System Works Well.

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