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Verizon, Health Evolution Partners To Promote Health IT

Communications giant teams with Health Evolution Partners, a healthcare buyout company, to sell Verizon's data-management technologies to health organizations.

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Verizon Enterprise Solutions has struck a strategic relationship with Health Evolution Partners (HEP), an investment firm that will promote Verizon technologies such as its cloud computing, mobile connectivity, and software services to healthcare companies and provider organizations that HEP invests in.

Under the multiyear agreement announced Monday, HEP and Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions, the company's health IT practice group, will identify health companies that can accelerate their growth strategy by adopting Verizon's technologies to support clinical workflow, data management, and the use of mobile devices to coordinate patient care.

"We have almost 100 companies and a very large share of them--whether they are life science companies, health IT companies, or companies that deliver healthcare services--are all data-driven firms," David Brailer, chairman of Health Evolution Partners, told InformationWeek Healthcare.

[ Is it time to re-engineer your clinical decision support system? See 10 Innovative Clinical Decision Support Programs. ]

Brailer said these healthcare companies are fast-growing firms with $50 million to $200 million worth of revenue, and many of them have to grapple with managing more data as well as support a mobile workforce that is coordinating patient care at remote locations.

"It's not just that they need a smartphone or a tablet--that's easy. It is that they need an information architecture so that they can log on, people can know who they are, get access to the data they need without filling out a lot of paper forms--it's a whole different architecture," Brailer said.

As the pace of electronic health record (EHR) adoption and digitized medical images continues at a fast clip, many of these firms are depending on mobile connectivity, information access, software services, and other technology that Verizon already has developed.

According to Brailer, the partnership with Verizon will enable these companies to have greater access to broadband networks, video-based technologies, and wireless devices that incorporate geo-location capabilities and sensors that are changing the way health organizations deliver care.

"To us, this partnership makes perfect sense. We've joined with a batch of leading-edge new companies across a whole spectrum of healthcare that can apply a lot of different technologies and software services," Dr. Peter Tippett, vice president and chief medical officer, Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions, told InformationWeek Healthcare. "We've been building a lot of technologies to help enable the healthcare ecosystem that we think will transform the whole healthcare industry, but to do this we need to be partnered with companies like the ones Health Evolution Partners are invested in."

Health Evolution Partners has investments in providers and companies operating in several sectors of the healthcare industry, including:

-- Healthcare providers and payers, and companies that provide services to these two groups. This includes ambulatory care providers, clinical and administrative facility services, managed care services, and consumer-driven healthcare firms.

-- Health IT companies that help improve care delivery, financial management, consumer engagement or research, and discovery. These companies provide technology in a variety of areas including cloud computing, enterprise solutions, digital media, online services, process automation, revenue cycle management, and network transactions within the healthcare industry.

-- Life sciences companies that bring therapies, devices, diagnostics, or product technologies to market. This group includes medical technology, specialty pharmaceutical, life-science tools, diagnostic, and outsourcing-service businesses.

One technology offering that Verizon officials hope these companies will adopt is cloud computing, despite the fact that some healthcare executives are skeptical about whether the cloud can handle sensitive patient data.

Healthcare providers' obligation to adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) privacy rule has caused many in the healthcare industry to worry more than other industries about cloud computing's ability to securely manage data in the cloud. They are likewise concerned about the risk of paying penalties if they are found in violation of HIPAA's privacy rules. However, Tippett claims that Verizon's cloud computing offering is secure and said healthcare organizations will make their own decision on how much data they are prepared to transfer to the cloud.

"We absolutely believe that we have built the cloud infrastructures that healthcare can use. Will they use it for everything? Of course not, but they don't need to," Tippett said.

Healthcare providers must collect all sorts of performance data to meet emerging standards. The new Pay For Performance issue of InformationWeek Healthcare delves into the huge task ahead. Also in this issue: Why personal health records have flopped. (Free registration required.)

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