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1/6/2010
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Caritas Offers Docs Athenahealth EMR Option

Caritas Christi Health Care will offer electronic medical record software from Athenahealth to its 1,700 doctors in New England.

As healthcare organizations begin the race to meet the federal government's meaningful-use criteria, some are widening the pool of products they'll support to get more providers recording and exchanging patient data electronically.

Caritas Christi Health Care, which operates six hospitals in Massachusetts, said this week it has added Athenahealth's AthenaClinicals to its offering of electronic medical record software used by employed and affiliated physicians.

Through an expanded relationship with Caritas Christi, Athenahealth will provide its AthenaClinicals Web-based EMR to Caritas Christi's network of 500 employed doctors and 1,200 affiliated physicians at negotiated, discounted prices. Caritas Christi's network of employed doctors already uses another Athenahealth product, AnthenaCollector, for billing and revenue management.

The addition of AthenaClinicals is another EMR option available to doctors that Caritas Christi will support for the exchange of patient data, such as labs and other information between physician practices and Caritas Christi's hospitals, says Todd Rothenhaus, Caritas Christi's senior VP and CIO.

Late last year, Caritas Christi said it was launching a three-year $70 million IT initiative to drive e-health record adoption among physicians. The initiative will also create a health information exchange, which includes Microsoft Amalga and HealthVault technologies, to aggregate patient data in disparate systems throughout the hospital network, as well as provide patients with Web-based access to their medical information.

Amalga makes it easier for Caritas Christi to support "more than a single EMR" platform used by doctors, said Rothenhaus.

Caritas Christi, the largest community-based healthcare system in New England, provides care to about 600,000 patients in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. However, 90% of the approximately 1,700 doctors employed or affiliated with Caritas Christi aren't using any e-health record software at all in their practices, said Rothenhaus.

Of those Caritas Christi doctors who have deployed e-health record systems in their practices, some are already using AthenaClinicals or other EMR packages of their choosing, including software from NexGen and GE, he said.

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