EHR vendor links with Google for free service

BY Brian Robinson Governmenthealthit.com March 16, 2007

 

Start-up electronic health record vendor Practice Fusion has struck a deal with Web search giant Google to provide a full-featured EHR for free, the first time such a product has been available to physicians at no cost as an on-demand Web service.

Advertising sold through Google’s system will finance the service, said Ryan Howard, chief executive officer of Practice Fusion. The company will also provide the EHR through a standard for-pay model, he said, but focus groups have indicated a greater potential acceptance of the free EHR.

“In this case the physician is the standard consumer for the ads,” Howard said. “When they realize this will allow them to offset the $50,000 per seat it could cost them with traditional EHRs, physicians tell us this will be no big deal.”

The San Francisco-based company was officially launched in August 2006. Its original software-as-a-service subscription model allows physicians to use as much or as little of the service as they need and to pay only for the amount they use.

Howard said the service was designed from the ground up to compete with established vendors EHRs sold. The service is separate from Google, which drives the application to the user, and Google will not handle any of the patient data exchanged through it.

A central repository owned and controlled by Practice Fusion will hold the data, and the service natively incorporates strong security and is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Health Level 7. It also includes an integration layer using a well-defined application-programming interface that will enable it to access and share records with other existing systems.

The EHR, which is still in beta development now, should be available within the next four months, Howard said. The company has seed funding from a number of venture capitalists, he said, and is currently looking for other funding to allow it to scale its operations.

Article here: San Francisco Chronicle 

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