MobiHealthNews recently had a chance to catch up with PatientKeeper’s CEO Paul Brient to discuss how his company’s mobile software can help healthcare organizations meet certain requirements under Stage 1 of Meaningful Use; the opportunity for Windows Phone 7 devices in healthcare; the growth of Android devices among US physicians; and why PatientKeeper is toying with the idea of opening up its API to create a new ecosystem for medical app developers.
MobiHealthNews: I read recently that PatientKeeper’s software can help a care facility move toward Meaningful Use. How?
Paul Brient, PatientKeeper: Maybe surprisingly, meaningful use requirements do dovetail into the mobile space. Look at meaningful use on the in-patient side: There are a series of things hospitals have to do to meet Stage 1 to qualify for HITECH money, and that will get you to about 40 percent of the overall funding. That’s about $6 million for a 200-bed hospital, so we’re talking about a reasonable amount of money.
The basic idea behind this legislation is for the government to help the healthcare industry get the stuff implemented that they have had trouble getting implemented in the past. Certain things have gone well and sort of happened on their own: PACS, lab and pharmacy automation are examples of things that really happened on their own.
Getting doctors to put in their orders and documentation electronically has been a particular problem. It has not happened. The penetration rate is in the low single digits. That’s why the stimulus and meaningful use are largely focused on those pieces. Interestingly, for Stage 1 requirements, the government backed off a lot on their requirements. Originally it required hospitals to have 10 percent of orders to go in electronically. Now the requirement is that one third of a facility’s patients have to have one medication order put in electronically. That’s a huge step back. At PatientKeeper, we have a strategy for helping a hospital get to full-blown adoption of CPOE and electronic documentation, which we believe will be required in later stages, but right now just getting to Stage 1 is a lot easier.
You don’t really have to do anything with documentation, you just have to do a small piece of CPOE for Stage 1.
As a result we are featuring the mobile offering of CPOE quite a bit because it was designed to help physicians put in orders that are one-off orders from the bedside or for when they’re not in the hospital. This mobile offering is designed to get around verbal orders. In fact, in many cases, with the volume of verbal orders alone it’s enough to help providers meet Stage 1 requirements for CPOE. And by the way, doctors love this. Verbal orders are a huge pain for them. It’s an interesting time and opportunity to be [PatientKeeper] and be able to offer all physician facing components to meet Stage 1 and ultimately Stage 2 and 3 requirements.
Are PatientKeeper’s customers doing this today?
No one is doing it yet because regulations were just finalized two months ago. We are engaged with a variety of customers who are doing this, though. They have to be live and doing it for 90 days before they can get any stimulus money. That probably won’t happen until Q2 of next year, but this is certainly real from a ‘people are buying it and deploying it’ standpoint.
When I think of PatientKeeper, I see the company as one of the first to embrace mobility in healthcare and make that a focus. Is that a fair characterization?
Well, we are unique in a lot of ways. We are particularly unique in the way we come at physician workflow, especially the way it relate to physicians who cross between outpatient and inpatient worlds. Traditional HIS companies automate a place: A physician practice or a part of a hospital. At PatientKeeper, we automate doctors. That causes us to cross traditional lines of categories. We are not an ambulatory EMR, but we do have all the ambulatory data. We are not an HIS system that runs your hospital, but we do have all of the data that a doctor needs. What we are about is getting that physician’s workflow automated and getting the data they put in to the right place. So, yes, that also requires mobile technology because physicians are not physically present in front of computers. The mobile piece is so fundamentally critical to what we do. A lot of people look at us and say, ‘Ah, you are a mobile company.’ We say: ‘Not really, but as a company that automates physicians, we darn well better have a mobile strategy!’ Keep reading>>