IBM Global Financing has entered into deals with four health care organizations to help them pay for their EHR projects while they await federal stimulus funds. The deals also will enable IBM to collect interest on the financing and raise its profile in the growing health care IT market.
IBM is looking to help health care businesses put their medical
records into a digital format while they wait for federal stimulus
funds to become available.
IBM announced Dec. 22 that its lending unit, IBM Global Financing,
has signed new financing agreements with four EHR (electronic health
records) providers to help them pay for their projects.
According to IBM officials, the issue comes down to the cost of EHR
projects and the timetable for the Obama administration to dole out
money from the billions of dollars allocated for such projects.
It can cost health care organizations millions of dollars to buy and
deploy the technology needed to put their medical records into a
digital format. The Obama administration, as part of ARRA (American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act), is offering money and incentives to
encourage such projects.
However, it is taking awhile for the federal government to reimburse
such efforts through the ARRA, according to IBM. The financing offered
by IBM helps bridge that gap, according to Richard Dicks, general
manager for North America for IBM Global Financing.
"Customers of electronic health care records solutions soon realize
that while health IT technology is necessary, it's also expensive,"
Dicks said in a statement. "Costs have today become a non-technological
barrier to health IT adoption. It's a chicken-and-egg scenario facing
medical providers. Many are waiting for government funding working its
way through the system, but need the benefits of the technology today."
IBM Global Financing is currently working with about 40 percent of the top vendors of acute care EHR systems, the company said.
The deals enable IBM to make money through the interest on the
financing, while also raising its profile in the burgeoning health care
The latest IBM financing deals are with Siemens Healthcare, Lavender
& Wyatt Systems, Healthcare Management Systems and SCC Soft