While there is still some hesitation among health care providers, recent financial developments in the health care IT industry point toward a ramping up of investment in EHRs and mobile health technology.
Payment incentives to providers who qualify for Meaningful Use through the HITECH Act is the biggest inflationary pressure for what could be called a mobile healthcare bubble. The mobile health care bubble would represent an influx of capital and interest in emerging systems and technologies. While there will be winners and losers as the competition in the health care IT marketplace heats up, providers stand to gain the most from this increased competition in the form of lower prices and better products.
One sign of increased interest in mobile health is the recent traction gained by Drchrono, a company that provides a health care IT platform in the form of a series of applications for the iPad and iPhone. In June, the company received Stage 1 certification allowing it to claim the applications could be used to qualify for up to $44,000 in incentive payments. In January, the company raised $2.8 million in venture capital bringing their total funding to over $4 million.
These developments position Drchrono front-and-center on the App Store shelf, but Greenway Medical is another company staking out a claim on the mobile health care frontier with its PRIMEmobile application.
Last week, Greenway’s IPO, which raised $67 million, marked the first such offering by an EHR-only company. The stock price jumped 30% on its first day, another sign of increased focus on health care IT. According to a story by Forbes, many investors are looking at mobile health and companies that produce EHR technology as a portfolio must-have over the next few years.
PRIMEmobile is similar to the applications available from Drchrono in that it is, “a mobile EHR application that provides complete remote access of ambulatory data,” according to the company’s website. While, the application is currently only available in the App Store for iPad and iPhone, the company’s website says the application will soon be available for mobile devices running on the Android operating system.
Drchrono and PRIMEmobile are just two of many different options available at the App Store, but some health care providers are not convinced the iPad or any other mobile platform is ready to be adopted by their organization in 2012.
According to a study by Spyglass Consulting, a health care IT marketing firm, 80% of health care providers are “skeptical iPad is ready to transform patient care delivery TODAY.” This same study also said most hospital physicians believed that their IT department was resistant to adopting mobile platforms because of concerns about security, reliability, and support.
This skepticism of mobile heath technology combined with uncertainty over how the next two stages of Meaningful Use criteria will be shaped could keep a mobile health IT bubble from blowing up, but as guidelines are shaped and reviews of the technology begin to roll in, doctors and administrators will take a serious look at adopting EHR and mobile health technology with the intention of receiving payments by the 2016 deadline.