Doc, you're getting a Dell (EMR)

By Bernie Monegain
11:06 AM
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Dell has launched an electronic medical record that executives say will help bridge healthcare's digital divide.

The Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker on Thursday introduced an electronic medical record system for hospital-affiliated physician practices. The intent, said Dell executives, is to accelerate the sharing and meaningful use of digital patient information among hospitals and physician practices.

Dell executives say their EMR solution is sponsored by hospitals for their affiliated physicians and designed to make it affordable and practical for physician practices to transition from paper to electronic records.

Dell's Affiliated Physician EMR Solution will also connect physicians and their sponsoring hospitals so that they can harness the power of electronic patient information to improve and coordinate care, help reduce costs and streamline administration across their local healthcare system.

Tufts Medical Center in Boston and the Memorial Hermann Health Care system in Houston are early adopters.

"Our healthcare community is committed to the goal of providing our patients the right care, at the right time, at the right place," said Bill Shickolovich, CIO at Tufts Medical Center. "Transitioning to electronic patient information and exchanging that information across our healthcare community is the first, and has been the most challenging step in making our vision a reality. We are now building a community of practices to coordinate and deliver better care,"

"Memorial Hermann is consistently recognized among the 'most wired' healthcare systems in the U.S.," said David Bradshaw, the system's CIO. "We have seen the benefits of using electronic patient information to operating efficiently and improving the quality of care within our hospitals. Now it's time to extend those benefits to our broader community to provide end-to-end patient care,"

Less than 10 percent of U.S. physicians – many of them affiliated with a local hospital – have a fully-functional electronic records system that provides real-time access to patient histories and streamlines practice management with electronic patient registration, scheduling and billing, according to industry research.

"The U.S. healthcare system is suffering from a digital divide that we can no longer afford," said Jamie Coffin, MD, vice president of Dell's healthcare and life sciences division. "With our hospital partners we are knocking down EMR's barriers to accelerate its adoption, and in doing so we'll create the communities of practices and information-sharing infrastructure necessary to achieve reform priorities today and personalized medicine in the future."

"EMR has existed for nearly 20 years, but cost, complexity and other barriers have kept it beyond the reach of physician practices and many hospitals – the front line of our healthcare system," said Judy Hanover, an analyst with IDC Health Industry Insights.

Dell executives say the EMR:

  • Can reduce upfront expenses and help maximize cash flow, with financing that minimizes up-front and out-of-pocket expenses until ARRA reimbursement and affordable monthly lease payments that maximize cash flow during reimbursement periods.
  • Can eliminate complexity with a single solution that simplifies EMR adoption and is tailored to the needs of each practice. The solution includes hosted EMR and practice management software, office technology and a complete services portfolio, including practice and site assessments to determine practice readiness and workflow requirements, solution installation, physician and staff training and 24/7 software and hardware support via Dell's ProSupport EMR Helpdesk. The hospital or Dell's EMR partner will host the EMR application in a secure datacenter to simplify the technical configuration required at the practice and ensure 24/7 enterprise-level support and information security.
  • Connects the healthcare community, via a secure health information exchange (HIE) hosted by the hospital or a Dell partner, so that affiliated physicians and hospitals can exchange electronic patient information to coordinate care and streamline administration. Information exchange is a requirement for American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) funding.