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Monday, April 19, 2010

Is Electronic Health Records (EHR) in Dynamic's future?

Recently I had a fellow blogger email me about a great new article, talking about not if, but who and when --- Microsoft will fully enter into the EHR, or Electronic Health Records business.

We have all heard about the spanning news stories with Companies like IBM, Oracle, GE, and others focusing in on this, espically since the Federal Government has put out a mandate that all health records must be electronic by 2015.

Part of those headlines, we have also heard both Google and Microsoft, with Microsoft HealthVault, target personally managed medical information.

(Note: The above logo, is the current Microsoft "Health" branding, with it's HealthVault and Amalga products.)

Still Microsoft has not shown that it has a full on EHR that can compete with the established brands. If you look at Dynamics, Specifically Dynamics AX, their is a Life Sciences Vertical, however these focus primarily on Biotech firms, Pharams, etc.

So with this, Austin Merritt, from Software Advice wrote the following article.: Microsoft EMR: It’s Not Just a Matter of When, It’s a Matter of Who

This article is very well done, and actually good timing with Convergence coming up, and the big push with the EHR news flying left and right. It also compares the EMR question for Microsoft, to what existed back in the late 90's and early 2000's when Microsoft entered into the ERP market space with purchases that ended up creating the Dynamics ERP / CRM line.

From the article.:
"Microsoft Dynamics is largely present in just about every software market but medical. And they’re missing out big time. The United States healthcare IT market is growing at about 13% per year and is expected to reach $35 billion in 20111. The biggest opportunity for growth in the industry is among ambulatory care physician practices, partly due to the Stimulus Bill requiring the use of electronic health records (EHR) systems by 2015"

"[Microsoft's] entry into the medical market would mimic the acquisition spree that Microsoft conducted between 2000 and 2002, when it acquired Great Plains, Navision, Damgaard, and several related vendors. These systems were re-branded and offered as Microsoft Dynamics. Before these acquisitions, Microsoft was not present in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) application market. Its only ERP presence was as an infrastructure vendor, licensing SQL Server databases and related platforms to support application rollouts. However, this lack of application presence gave competitors such as Oracle and SAP the opportunity to squeeze Microsoft out of the ERP infrastructure market by pushing Unix, Oracle databases and IBM DB2. By acquiring several applications, Microsoft was able to drive sales of its SQL Server and Windows Servers directly, in addition to the Dynamics applications themselves. This strategy proved effective in giving Microsoft a multi-billion dollar share of the lucrative ERP market.

Setting its sights on the medical market, Microsoft is starting to squeeze its way in with a few smaller acquisitions and developments of its own, mainly Amalga and HealthVault. However, these current medical offerings are on the periphery of the market and do not really target the sweet spot: electronic health records for physician practices. An intelligent acquisition of a large EHR player would provide a key piece of the puzzle for Microsoft’s entry into the medical market."

This article then moves into a comparison of the current possible companies that Microsoft could purchase, to help them enter into the EHR space, as Microsoft did with the ERP space.

If even goes on to mention about a specific company, among others, named: Eclipsys.

In the article, and breakdown for the compare for Eclipsys is stated.:
"Eclipsys acquired MediNotes in 2009 in an attempt to move users to its Peak Practice EHR. While Eclipsys is fairly popular among hospitals, Peak Practice has not achieved similar success among small to mid-size outpatient practices. Existing MediNotes users are not thrilled about being forced to purchase Peak Practice and we’ve seen quite a few seeking a new solution from a new vendor. We think the success of the MediNotes deal is unclear and Microsoft would steer clear for now."

So it's Austin's thinking that Microsoft would not purchase Eclipsys, until the success of MediNotes purchase by Eclipsys is a proven item. Now that we are focusing on Eclipsys, I am not sure I agree with Austin on this point, though he could be right.

Recently though Microsoft and Eclipsys entered into a highly touted partnership, covered well by the following article.: Eclipsys, Microsoft partnership looks to open platforms, interoperability

From the article.:
"Under the agreement, officials said both companies plan to integrate key components of Eclipsys' Sunrise Enterprise suite of integrated software applications with Microsoft Amalga Unified Intelligence System (UIS), a data aggregation platform that integrates clinical, administrative and financial data from disparate information systems. Officials said the goal of the planned integration is to give providers improved analytic capabilities and help connect estranged and disparate data repositories."

"Clinicians have been frustrated by not having critical information available to them at the point of care because either the information resided on disparate systems or they were unaware that patient data was available," said Philip M. Pead, Eclipsys' president and chief executive officer. "The new federal regulations surrounding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and achieving 'meaningful use' are a tipping point that will drive a rapid amount of change in how healthcare information is accessed."

So we have here a focused Partnership with Microsoft and Eclipsys, which suite happens to be named Sunrise (The name of the VAR I am apart of), that is directly focusing in on what Austin is bringing up.

So has Microsoft actually started down this path already? Will they purchase Eclipsys, and move into the EHR / EMR space as they are now in ERP space with Dynamics?

It seems to me, for now, they are lining up to partner they Amalga suite with products like the Eclipsys Sunrise Suite. Staying on the infastructure and platform side of the equation. But for how long?

I agree with Austin that Microsoft will purchase, and most likely it will target two or more product lines, that offering size varations for the different possible clients from the small to enterprise sized. It makes sense then that Microsoft would partner with Eclipsys, and then foster a channel with them, which would lead to a purchase down the road.

What do I see as the ultimate delivery of a EHR / EMR solution? Dynamics will be involved, but I see a possible Dynamics ERP / xRM combo, where the Amalga and Future Products combine to sit beside the Dynamics ERP / xRM stack, which all sit on top of the Microsoft platform, including SQL Server, SharePoint, Office and Azure Cloud Platform.

So to answer my own question, is their EHR / EMR in Dynamics line future? Yes, I believe so. How far into the future, I believe will depend on where Microsoft and the Eclipsys partnership ends up. I believe this is a real push by Microsoft and this partnership will really shape what EHR will mean for Dynamics line in the future.

Think otherwise? Leave your comments!

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Anonymous Darsan Clinica said...

Really very good post. It is very useful. Thanks for sharing....Awesome...

4:36 AM  
Anonymous electronic medical records said...

I think it could be possible if the government continue supporting the widely uses of EMR and it can also depends to the agreement of different party's that is involve.


8:50 PM  

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