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GE To Fold Web-Based EHR

Company will shut down Centricity Advance product for small medical practices and migrate customers to Centricity Practice Solution.

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GE Healthcare is discontinuing a Web-based ambulatory electronic health record (EHR) product it purchased less than two years ago.

The Waukesha, Wis.-based healthcare division of General Electric Co. this week informed customers of the GE Centricity Advance EHR that the company will no longer support the product after June 30. GE Healthcare instead will offer upgrades to its flagship GE Centricity Practice Solution, a combined EHR and practice management system, for approximately the same price as Centricity Advance.

"Our decision to terminate the Centricity Advance product line will enable GE Healthcare to focus our efforts on a single ambulatory EMR/PM platform, which means we can deliver new innovations--like mobility and clinical depth--to our customers more quickly," the company said in a written statement.

[ For more background on e-prescribing tools, see 6 E-Prescribing Vendors To Watch. ]

"We want to eliminate some of the channel confusion" among GE EHR products, Michael Friguletto, general manager and vice president for clinical business solutions at GE Healthcare, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

Centricity Advance was the result of GE's acquisition of MedPlexus in March 2010. The discontinuation means that GE will no longer offer a software-as-a-service EHR for small physician practices. Centricity Practice Solution is a licensed product, not a hosted product, according to Friguletto.

Friguletto said that GE resellers will be able to offer customers a remotely hosted option, however. "The customers acquired a SaaS solution because they didn't want to have to acquire hardware," Friguletto said. Resellers will be able to provide remote hosting for Centricity Practice Solution. "[Customers] can connect through a Citrix connection or with desktop software," he explained.

The shutdown of Centricity Advance will affect "a couple hundred" physician practices, Friguletto said. It also will result in the loss of an unspecified number of jobs. "We do believe this to be the best decision for our customers and prospects. This decision won't have any impact on any of our GE facilities," the company statement said.

Starting in July, Centricity Advance users will have read-only access to previously entered data through the end of the year, according to GE. Friguletto said that the company would help customers migrate their data to Centricity Practice Solution or a competing EHR product.

GE recently had an issue with Centricity Practice Solution and the related Centricity Electronic Medical Record system. As InformationWeek Healthcare first reported in October, unspecified "inaccuracies" in reporting functions were preventing some users from attesting to Meaningful Use and earning Medicare and Medicaid bonus payments. The glitch has since been corrected.

When are emerging technologies ready for clinical use? In the new issue of InformationWeek Healthcare, find out how three promising innovations--personalized medicine, clinical analytics, and natural language processing--show the trade-offs. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

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