E-Health Changes Could Shake Up Medical Vendors’ Businesses
An infusion of health information technology money, and related provisions, in the stimulus bill could have unforeseen effects on the business of e-health, and perhaps even companies with more traditional products and services. As the unknowable changes in regulations take shape, like other key industry player, Mark Leavitt, who runs the committee that certifies e-health products, is "doing what he can while waiting for HHS to do what it's going to do," Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, 5/28).
Some industry observers foresee a wave of consolidation in the e-health marketplace, the New York Times blog, BITS, reports. "The government pump-priming will also set off an acquisition spree as large technology companies buy health information-technology specialists to grab market share, [business observers] concluded," the Times reports. The money could also lead to providers grouping together to share the costs in addition to stimulus funding of adopting e-health (Lohr, 5/28).
Share prices for one major e-health vendor, Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions, climbed Thursday "after a JPMorgan analysts upgraded the stock to 'Overweight,' as federal stimulus programs are seen spurring investments in information technology," the Associated Press reports (5/28).
Other sectors will be effected by e-health provisions in the stimulus, too. Medical billers and other medical business services are now directly subject to medical privacy laws contained in HIPAA, the Oklahoma City Journal Record reports. Previous groups ranging from outside billing consultants to software analysts were not subject to those regulations, but made indirect agreements with providers to observe them (Price, 5/29).
Though in some cases, the stimulus changes could be more restrictive for medical-industry services, new business opportunities may also emerge. Some Florida-based medical billers are using e-health capabilities to "deliver Medicaid claims data to physicians," one local official told the Ocala Business Journal. "It's a way physicians can get a history on a patient before a patient come in" (Brooks, 5/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.