Dell's Harry Greenspun: How to Re-engineer Health Care IT

By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2010-11-30 Print this article Print

title=Dell, Perot Health Care Team} 

It's been a little more than a year since Dell announced its acquisition of Perot Systems. How has the integration of Perot affected Dell's health care IT business?

When you combine the legacy of Perot Systems and the legacy of Dell, we're now the largest provider of health IT services globally, which most people don't appreciate. We have literally hundreds of doctors and nurses and other clinicians who have a real depth of experience in improving the quality of health care delivery by using enabling technologies. And so what we're able to do now is combine the reach of legacy Dell with the expertise of legacy Perot to bring a broader range of solutions to a broader range of customers.

What is Dell's strategy as far as IT services in the health care industry?

I think one of the challenges historically the nation has faced-and forget about Dell for a second-is that the big adopters of advanced technologies have been the large academic medical centers, the large practices, etc., but the vast majority of health care is practiced in smaller community hospitals and the average-size physician practice.

With the adoption rates certainly below 20 percent-some people say below 10 percent depending on the market-along with continuing to provide these very advanced services for our large customers, one of the important things is, How do we bring these kinds of advanced technologies to the average kind of practice, the average-size hospital where really the bulk of medicine is practiced right now?

In June Dell announced a deal with Practice Fusion to bring electronic medical records into the cloud. How effective will cloud computing be in allowing health care professionals to access and share medical records?

Cloud computing, I think, will be critical for more widespread adoption. By hosting these applications in the cloud, handling not only the management of these mission-critical applications as well as the privacy and security issues associated with them and the exchange requirements, you're able to remove a lot of that burden from physicians themselves and from the practices and from these very resource-constrained hospitals, so that will be one big factor.

The other issue is that it will also allow those folks to benefit from a lot more services. Along with just the hosting of these applications and the use of health information exchange, they get more sophisticated dashboarding and informatics, benchmarking, and quality comparisons. They can participate in accountable-care organizations by being coordinated in the cloud. It will really open the door to a much higher quality and a more efficient delivery of care.

Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company,, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents,, USA Weekend and, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.

Follow him on Twitter: @bthorowitz


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