eClinicalWorks Invests $50 Million In mHealth Strategy

11-19-2013 3-59-07 PM

Westborough, MA-based ambulatory EHR vendor eClinicalWorks today announced that it will invest another $50 million into its fledgling mHealth business unit. Launched in February 2013 with an initial $25 million investment and a staff of 75, the health and online wellness division, called Healow, is focused on developing patient engagement solutions that will help improve digital communication between patient and providers.

Currently, the division is working on two products. The first is a patient portal, and the second is a mass communication tool to launch preventative health campaigns across a targeted population.

The patient portal offers patients a complete a view of their medical record, plus facilitates prescription refill requests, bill payment, and a messaging service that will allow patients to email their provider. The problem with most portals is that they only contain the information housed at the practice they’re hosted by, and so they do not present the patient with a complete picture of their health care history. The Healow team has addressed this problem by building their patient portal on top of the company’s interoperability engine which allows open peer-to-peer communication and chart sharing across EHR vendors. The end result for patients is a single, centralized patient portal that houses medical records from all the different care locations they receive care from. The downside is that patients have to manually link their disparate portal accounts with Healow’s centralized patient portal. Despite that extra effort, there are not many vendors offering a truly centralized patient portal experience, and so this is a significant development effort within the patient portal market.

Another nice feature of the portal is that it houses an integrated telehealth system that will allow providers to conduct remote visits with their patients over the portal once telehealth services are more routinely reimbursed.

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The portal is accessible online, as well as through an app available on both iOS and Android devices.

The communication tool that Healow is working on is the centerpiece of eClinicalWorks population health strategy. The system searches through the EHR on a regularly scheduled interval, looking for patients that meet specific criteria, such as being past due for a colonoscopy or mammogram. The system then sends a pre-defined e-mail or text message to these patients to remind them of their past due appointment. The messenger tool is multi-lingual, and has also been designed to help to automate the appointment reminder and confirmation process.

“Our population health and the Healow patient engagement programs have received tremendously positive response and rapid use. We currently have 14 million people using Healow patient engagement tools and more than five million messages are sent to patients monthly." – Girish Navani, eClinicalWorks CEO

With the additional $50 million investment, eClinicalWorks will add 100 new FTEs into the Healow business unit. Over the next year, Healow will expand its patient portal and mobile app to include home monitoring tools, appointment scheduling, and a smartphone-based patient check-in process for when patients arrive at doctors’ offices.

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