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Mobile, Modular EHR Help eClinicalWorks Put Patients First

Brian Eastwood | May 21, 2013
Healthcare is rapidly moving toward a patient-centric care model, says Girish Kumar Navani, CEO of electronic health record software vendor eClinicalWorks. To meet this demand, EHR systems ought to be mobile, modular and easy to use, he tells Patients, meanwhile, need an experience that reminds them of online banking.

EClinicalWorks ranks among the leading electronic health record vendors in the United States. It's third based on the number of customer meaningful use attestations to get government incentives for using EHR (behind Epic Systems and Allscripts) and second only to Epic in the number of eprescriptions filed annually.

But eClinicalWorks is also among the quietest EHR vendors-and that's how CEO Girish Kumar Navani likes it. Much of its marketing is word of mouth-90 percent of the firm's business comes from referrals, Navani says, while its footprint in larger hospitals often goes unadvertised.

The company also stayed on the sidelines at this year's Health Information and Management Systems Society's HIMSS13 conference while five other big players announced the CommonWell Health Alliance and Epic, the biggest of them all, first downplayed its omission and then cried foul. (For his part, Navani thinks "the market will take care of itself" when it comes to interoperability, and eClinicalWorks is developing its own interoperability standards.)

The company seems to prefer making headlines on its own merit-as it did last year when it inked a 10-year deal to be the National Football League's EHR system and in February when it launched the mobile Health and Online Wellness initiative known as healow.

In an interview at eClinicalWorks headquarters in Westborough, Mass., Navani discussed these projects and offered some perspective on where healthcare is headed and what role information technology will play in its transformation.

Moving at 'Fast Pace' Toward Patient-Centered Care

Healthcare is moving at a "fantastically fast pace," Navani says. Other industries-namely, telecommunications, airlines, entertainment and retail-are consumer businesses, but healthcare is not. "We're in black box where you don't know what your bill will be until you get it," he says. (That said, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are beginning a price transparency initiative.)

The next 12 to 24 months will be critical to the path to consumer-centric healthcare, in which patients decide where to get care, what it will cost and what the outcome will be. Here, information is key. It's not big data- Navani says he hates the term-but, rather, "data that has an answer."

For physicians, this means knowing more about individual patients as well as their entire patient population. Before prescribing medication, for example, a doctor should be able to see if other patients are taking the same drug and if it's working for them, within seconds and presented in an intuitive manner. Such technology isn't unique, Navani says, noting that companies routinely use business intelligence software to track company-wide performance.

Making Primary Docs 'Quarterback' of Healthcare Process
With this information in hand, primary care physicians can become the "quarterback" of the healthcare experience, working with specialists to improve the care process, Navani says. This can be true even if the patient himself is a quarterback, as eClinicalWorks' partnership with the NFL intends to help teams of physicians track an athlete's progress from the point of impact (using mobile EHR on the football field) to rehabilitation and offseason recovery.


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