Will cloud-based electronic health records technology take hold in the hospital market as it has among ambulatory providers? eClinicalWorks, which currently counts more than 115,000 physicians using its ambulatory EHR, is preparing to find out.
The Westborough, Mass.-based company plans an initial release of its acute care platform in 2017 and will demonstrate the technology at next week’s HIMSS16 conference in Las Vegas. Early focus will be on enterprise operations functionality, including inventory management, support for emergency departments and operating rooms, analytics, computerized physician order entry and bed management, according to a Feb. 23 annoucement released by the firm.
Already committed to the project is Tidelands Health, a three-hospital organization with approximately 300 beds and more than 40 outpatient locations in South Carolina’s Georgetown and Horry counties.
“Tidelands Health is dedicated to keeping the communities we serve healthy and active, inside and outside of the hospital,” said Todd Rowland, MD, senior vice president and CIO at Tidelands Health. “To deliver this, we require a unified record across the continuum of care, regardless of where the patient is seen. eClinicalWorks has shown a shared commitment to this OneCare approach, which will cost-effectively deliver a solution that enhances patient care.”
In an interview with HealthITInteroperability earlier this month, eClinicalWorks CEO and co-founder Girish Navani described himself as “an ultimate optimist in the long-term benefit of digitization of the industry.”
In that regard, Navani said his company is concentrating efforts on “empowering patients with the same level of electronic capability that we’ve strived for over the last 15 years for doctors — allowing patients to have access to telemedicine and smartphone apps; being able to receive intelligent messaging of what they need to do and when they need to get it done; and being able to use phones to check in and transfer their medical information at the time of visit.”
Navani also believes that by taking a cloud-centric approach to EHR deployment, organizations will achieve higher return on investment and lower cost of ownership than with traditional systems.
Judy Hanover, research director of provider IT transformation for IDC Health Insights, agrees, according to a public statement included in eClinicalWorks’ acute care announcement: “A cloud-based acute care EHR would allow organizations to concentrate on workflows and efficiency in clinical delivery, while supporting process re-engineering with digital workflows. This industry is ripe for a new approach.”
eClinincalWorks says it has successfully deployed its technology within approximately 80 hospitals internationally — a proving ground of sorts for the company’s upcomg entrance into the U.S. acute care market.
“EHRs are the backbone upon we’ll find amazing innovations in medicine,” Navani told HealthITInteroperability. “Through personalized medicine, mainly based on human genome and human conditions, individuals will be prescribed medications that are more applicable to them. There will be faster understanding of outbreaks and faster interventions because data will be captured more quickly — public health will get better because of it. We will also be able to understand ongoing, long-stage chronic problems and the effective management of them, and wellness programs will be put in place for every individual. All of these things cannot be done without digital healthcare systems.”
Navani concluded, “I think we’re going to see that happen this decade. It’s going to be fascinating.”