The Cleveland Clinic is moving aggressively into the hospital consulting business. A previous blog note addressed one facet of this initiative (see: Cleveland Clinic Launches Consulting Relationship with ProMedica System in Toledo). Now comes news, released at HIMSS, that it's getting into IT consulting with a focus on the Epic EHR (see: Cleveland Clinic, Dell pair up to help late adopters, switchers implement Epic EMR). Here is an excerpt from the article:
The Cleveland Clinic is teaming up with Dell to offer Epic EMR consulting and implementation services to other health systems and practices.The clinic, which has been using Epic for nearly a decade, already consults with nearby healthcare systems and practices through its MyPractice Healthcare Solutions services. Now, with the addition of Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences’ technology infrastructure, it’s planning to scale those services nationwide. Together the pair will work with physician practices and health systems to plan, implement and customize the Epic EMR system to meet their needs. Customers can install the system on their own servers or use Dell’s cloud-based services to host their data, the duo said in an announcement. Under the partnership..., Epic would be paid a licensing fee, but providers and health systems would work through Dell and the Cleveland Clinic....It’s not a surprising move for the clinic, which has turned its own expertise into consulting services in other capacities, too. For example, the clinic generates revenue through the Healthcare Innovation Alliance, a seven-member consortium that leverages its commercialization expertise to help other institutions turn their employees’ medical inventions into commercial products. In the realm of electronic health records, it’s worth noting that the market for first-time buyers is narrowing. Last year, nearly 80 percent of office-based physicians had some kind of electronic health record system installed, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. But as Stage 2 meaningful use looms, vendors are facing challenges upgrading their products and obtaining certification, and market surveys have suggested some providers are switching vendors.
Very interesting news. The Cleveland Clinic is clearly one of the most innovative healthcare organizations in the country. Similarly, Epic is one of the leading EHR vendors in the country but is short on physician expertise and strategies for promoting efficient delivery of healthcare services. This new relationship places the Cleveland Clinic and Dell as key intermediaries in the deployment of Epic software with whom providers and health systems would interact. I have commented that the deployment of EHRs like that of Epic can serve as a drag on physician productivity (see: Some of the Details Behind the Maine Medical Center/Epic EHR Meltdown; Ambulatory Physicians Cite EHR Design for Their Recent Loss of Productivity). It's possible that the Cleveland Clinic's consulting efforts might help to ameliorate this problem, in part by convincing Epic to modify some of its code and screen design.
Dell has been itching to become more active in healthcare for years. Flying with the Cleveland Clinic logo will support these ambitions. I have also been a strong advocate for wider deployment of cloud technology in healthcare (see: Google Now Supports HIPAA's BA Agreements for Cloud Computing) and this initiative should promote this goal. One more thing. I am sure that having Cleveland Clinic as an IT consulting partner for smaller hospitals can do nothing but enhance its patient referring network and super-regional reputation for complex surgical procedures (see: The Transition to "Big Med": Need for Emphasis on Standardization and Cost).