Health Care Changes Forcing Companies To Adapt, Could Cost Doctors
"Although thousands of doctors are converting their offices to electronic health records, a change the federal government supports with $19 billion in grants, there is a major catch - the government is still working on establishing a standard for e-records," the Las Vegas Sun reports. "Doctors who buy a software program could lose hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, if their systems aren't compatible with the future government standard."
Software companies are meanwhile competing for the new business stimulated by the governments' $19 billion economic recovery act investment in health information technology. One expert, Wes Rishel, tells the Sun there are currently 200 systems available, but that he expects the "crowded field" to narrow to 10 or so software providers over time. Those companies will be the ones that adapt easily to government standards (Lucht, 10/23).
David Brailer, President Bush's top health IT official and head of Health Equity Partners, is also on the lookout for companies that adapt quickly to changes in the health care business, Bloomberg reports. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, or "Calpers," is "betting as much as $1 billion that (Brailer) can remake the $2.5 trillion health-care industry one startup at a time." Brailer will use the investment to target "big pain points" where the health system wastes money and is inefficient, he said. Calpers is "the sole investor" in the company.
"So far, Brailer has invested more than $120 million in 30 companies, and said he plans to spend $150 million to $200 million a year beginning in 2010. One company aims to save hospitals up to $1.6 million a year each, using a centralized center to read radiology images. Others make electronic chemotherapy pumps that save time and curb treatment errors, run pharmacy chains that blend alternative therapies with traditional drugs, or match consumers to insurance plans based on their medical history" (Mullaney, 10/23).