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9/17/2012
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Physician-To-Physician Network Sidesteps EHR Incompatibility

Ambulatory EHR vendor eClinicalWorks launches a secure communications network that links providers--regardless of their clinical records system.

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Nationwide, doctors constantly are searching for ways to streamline communications with one another and improve interoperability between practices. eClinicalWorks hopes to help physicians share information more efficiently while promoting collaboration through its Join the Network system.

The system connects providers together securely regardless of their electronic health record system--a significant hurdle for many provider organizations trying to share data with other facilities. Clinicians using paper records also can access the network.

"We've been building this network, and it's reached 10,000 plus providers," said Girish Kumar Navani, CEO and founder of eClinicalWorks in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare. "We think it's built enough in size and scale to have an impact on what Meaningful Use Stage 2 is asking for and all the discussions around interoperability and sharing data."

eClinicalWorks is investing $10 million in the network over the next 12 months, and Navani said the company plans on doing "significant market outreach to providers."

In addition to clinicians, Navani said the network has drawn interest from payers, businesses, and other healthcare companies. "They aren't necessarily health IT companies, but people who provide services to doctors, like labs and diagnostic imaging centers, who[are wanting] to join the network," he said.

[ Read Meaningful Use Stage 2: Are You Ready? ]

The network is free for eClinicalWorks customers, a feature Navani and his team insisted on. "That's the premise," he said. "In a market where some individuals are coming out with offerings with a significant price tag, we're making Join the Network free." Navani added that network users aren't limited to eClinicalWorks, and he wants the network to appeal to everyone in healthcare.

eClinicalWorks has already built "hooks" from the network into its EMR system, but Navani said within a few weeks, the company will be announcing integrations to other businesses as well. Additionally, the network is an open platform that will follow national initiatives such as the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) Direct Project.

Members who join the network can find and connect with providers, and send electronic referrals, including demographic and insurance information, to others. Users also can transmit patient records with attachments, view recommended providers within a 10-mile radius, and find providers using a member-specific radius and specialty. Members have the ability to build a personal address book as well.

InformationWeek Healthcare brought together eight top IT execs to discuss BYOD, Meaningful Use, accountable care, and other contentious issues. Also in the new, all-digital CIO Roundtable issue: Why use IT systems to help cut medical costs if physicians ignore the cost of the care they provide? (Free with registration.)

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jaysimmons
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jaysimmons,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2012 | 2:05:28 AM
re: Physician-To-Physician Network Sidesteps EHR Incompatibility
eClinicalWorks sounds like they've really hit the nail on the head with this new rollout. I hope that other vendors will shortly follow. Interconnectivity is so desperately needed within healthcare IT. I'm especially interested in seeing how electronic referrals work within their system.
Jay Simmons
Information Week Contributor
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