I just read that Dell is offering something called the Affiliated Physicians EMR Solution
Possibly reflecting my background as much more of a software than a hardware person, I am not at all sure how much of a game changer this is. Dell is a mighty force in the IT world, no doubt about that. I think there is a pretty obvious logic that medical offices could benefit from a standardized, modularized, low-cost integrated server solution with (say) Linux as the OS and MySQL or MS SQLServer handling queries generated by interacting with an EHR/EMR user-end application.
But while Dell has a proven track record in delivering low-cost solutions, I am not sure why they are an obvious fit for an EHR/EMR solution. Is it because they can sell cheap servers? But why have the server farm at the office at all? Why not run it on the “cloud” at a server farm somewhere? Is Dell wanting more of the hosted applications market? If that is the game, then the medical offices are not necessarily interacting with the hardware provider in any meaningful way, so much as outsourcing their EHR/EMR needs to a hosting company or Software as a Service company.
Of course ensuring HIPAA compliance is no trivial matter, but still…can Dell offer an on-site solution that is better than off-site hosted ones? Physicians typically have more money than time. Maybe the economies of scale involved here with Dell’s plan make it ultimately cheaper to host these mission-critical, data intensive applications yourself?
Maybe Dell is morphing from a hardware company to more of a services company? IBM has made a bundle dropping (relatively) low-margin hardware sales for higher-margin services and support. Nice work if you can get it. I suppose this is part of the strategy for righting the company after going through some difficult quarters even before the recession hit.
According to dell.com
“Together, Dell and participating hospitals are eliminating long-standing barriers to EMR adoption for small and medium medical practices: cost, complexity and interoperability. Dell’s Affiliated Physician EMR Solution lets hospitals sponsor their affiliated physicians with an EMR solution that is interoperable with the hospital’s own health information systems. The solution includes industry-leading EMR and practice management software, hardware systems, and a complete service and support portfolio. Financing options minimize physician up-front and out-of-pocket expenses until ARRA reimbursement starts.
Healthcare providers who adopt EMR and achieve “meaningful use” by 2011 are eligible to receive the maximum reimbursements of up to $44,000 in Medicare or $66,000 in Medicaid from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Reimbursements decline every year thereafter until 2015. Physicians who do not achieve meaningful use by 2015 risk Medicare and Medicaid penalties.
While many hospitals offer their affiliated physicians “access” to the hospitals’ health information systems, this still doesn’t manage the totality of patient care. In order for true coordinated care to exist, physicians and their patients must be connected with hospitals before admission. By sponsoring this EMR program, your hospital will be building this connection. Together with Dell, your hospital plays a pivotal role in supporting physicians with the ability to accelerate the use of health information technology, improve patient safety, and reduce healthcare costs.
The question isn’t if you’re going to transition to electronic medical records (EMR). It’s when. But, faced with all of the decisions and regulations, getting from here to there can seem daunting. That’s where Dell comes in. Dell has created a comprehensive solution that simplifies EMR adoption and management, allowing you to focus on your mission of improving patient care”
The Austin American Statesmen has an article that reads like a press release:
“Health care is a valuable new target sector for Dell. The company has relied increasingly on sales to government in recent quarters to make up for big drops in computer spending by large corporations.
Dell said its early partners in the electronic records program include Tufts Medical Center in Boston and the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston.
Tufts, along with the New England Quality Care Alliance industry group, worked with Dell to design the program.
Dr. Jamie Coffin, Dell’s vice president for health care and life sciences, said Dell’s program helps attack the digital divide in the medical system where hospitals and affiliated doctors do a poor job of sharing patient records.
“Patient information that is locked away in paper records, electronic medical records solutions that are beyond the reach of most physician practices,” Coffin said. “Hospitals and physicians share patients, but not patient information. With our hospital partners, we are knocking down (electronic medical records) barriers.”
Analyst Judy Hanover with IDC said Dell has introduced one of the first comprehensive solutions for hospitals and affiliated doctors.
Elecronic medical records technology “has existed fore nearly 20 years, but cost, complexity and other barriers have kept it beyond the reach of physician practices and many hospitals, the front line of our health care system,” Hanover said.
Dell spokesman Cathy Hargett said her company believes it is important for hospitals to be the lead partner in such systems so that affiliated doctors can invest in compatible records systems.
The computer maker is plans to work with a variety of software vendors including eClinicalWorks to deliver the applications that hospitals and doctors want to use. Dell will provide a variety of services to help hospitals and doctors practices to set up such systems – including financing, needs assessment, work flow consulting, system configuration, software installation, training and support’