Electronic health record vendors – among them Allscripts, Ingenix, IBM, Cardinal Health and Practice Fusion – have announced EHR loans and guarantee deals in recent weeks.
"Now that we have a very strong indication of what (The Department of Health and Human Services) will require for electronic health record certification, Allscripts is making it safe and easy for physicians to adopt and use EHRs through our guarantee, financing and rapid implementation programs," Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman said Monday in launching the Allscripts loan and guarantee program.
Allscripts will offer the program on all new purchases of its electronic health record solutions, enabling clients to obtain financing from Allscripts preferred banking partners. Physicians can elect to make no payments on software for up to six months, followed by monthly payments over the time period that works best for them. At the end of the term, they own the software.
Ingenix is offering qualifying primary care physician offices with 10 physicians or fewer interest-free loans to implement its CareTracker EHR.
Like Allscripts and other vendors, Ingenix is guaranteeing that its software-as-a-service EHR will enable physicians to meet "meaningful use" criteria to qualify for Medicare reimbursements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
"If you don't get the stimulus money, use of the EHR is free," said Kim LaFontana, the company's vice president of strategic initiatives.
Ingenix crafted the package following results of a survey, conducted last summer, in which physicians expressed interest in implementing EHRs but cost remained a significant barrier, she said.
The small physician group is the largest underserved segment in the market, with unique needs, said Steven Tolle, senior vice president of the company's physicians solutions business. "A solution has to be built specifically for them."
Ingenix is banking that its overall package will attract this underserved market. "No cash upfront, interest-free loan – it's more compelling than a standard business loan," said LaFontana. "We are confident our customers will meet meaningful use."