Google recently announced that they had chosen EMR software, WebChart, from the Indiana company Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE) to power its three campus clinics, two in Mountain View and the other in Kirkland, WA. MIE is one of the seemingly countless small EMR providers that proliferate the HIT market with their EMR solution installed in about 100 physician practices in 20 States nationwide.
So what makes this so interesting?
For one thing, MIE also happens to be the developer of one of the better PHR products in the market today, NoMoreClipboard (NMC). NMC has strong partnerships with both Personal Health Clouds, Google Health and HealthVault and in our iPHR Market Report, we found NMC to be one of the better PHR products in the market and received best-in-class ranking for interoperability. That interoperability comes from MIE’s previous experience in building one of the first successful RHIOs, which is still in operation in Indiana. This is a small company that despite its size, or maybe because of it, has done a very good job of cross-pollinating its internal IP across its various market plays.
Recently, we talked to MIE/NMC regarding the Google Clinic win, here’s what we learned.
Google was looking to replace their existing EMR used in clinics and during the vendor selection process, Google Health introduced the selection team to MIE/NMC.
A key criteria in the selection process was the desire for a Web-based EMR. The selection team was also looking for the ability to connect the EMR to Google Health to support bi-directional exchange (portability) of an employee’s health records. Combining the capabilities of MIE’s WebChart EMR with NMC existing close partnership with Google Health, MIE readily met these these requirements.
This is not MIE’s first “corporate win” as they have a couple of other large corporate accounts; the first being one of the world’s largest chemical companies, the other a world-renowned pharmaceutical company. In both cases, MIE’s EMR is used in the corporate clinics to assist with OSHA health & safety compliance requirements, an interesting niche that is currently under-served.
What is particularly interesting about this story is the tie-in between the onsite clinical EMR solution with that of an independent Health Cloud, Google Health. While there are a number of EMR solutions today that support portability, particularly to Microsoft’s HealthVault (AllScripts, eClinicalWorks, Eclipsys, NextGen, etc.), this may be one of the first cases where portability to a Health Cloud was a key determinant in the selection of corporate campus clinic’s EMR.
Might this portend a trend that will be emulated by other corporate clinics? It sure makes sense.
Going beyond the common employer-hosted PHR model today, best represented by WebMD, where PHR solutions are populated with dated (and not all that useful) claims data, provide health-related content, often demand health risk assessments (HRAs), and include reminders, alerts, etc., the MIE/NMC/Google Health example brings together clinical data with personal control.
Chilmark Research forecasts that this model will become the norm in the future as traditional models for delivering healthcare are disintermediated. That’s not to say employers will stop providing common PHR tools such as health content and HRAs, but it does mean that employers on the leading edge of employee health & wellness, will increasingly be looking for solutions that facilitate true continuity of care for their employees in an increasingly fragmented healthcare market. Supporting that continuity of care will require employers to help facilitate their employee’s secure access and control of their medical records. This is the logical next step beyond where we are today and may dovetail nicely with EMR adoption.
There are a number of EMR vendors looking to fill this niche, but virtually all of them are tied to the clinician construct of their systems and have paid little attention to the consumer-facing side of the equation. With federal Stimulus funding now entering the picture, which is solely focused on clinician adoption of EHRs, it is unlikey that any of the major EMR players will pay much attention to this small but growing employer market as there is simply too much money to harvest in the clinican market. This does, however, create some unique opportunities for smaller players, such as MIE looking for new fields to plant and harvest.