eClinicalWorks, a developer of clinical health care IT applications, has launched a new offering called Join The Network, which allows doctors to transfer patient data over an open peer-to-peer network.
The company offers electronic health record (EHR) and practice-management applications for doctors' outpatient, or ambulatory, practices. More than 180,000 providers and 270,000 health care professionals in the United States are using eClinicalWorks' applications, according to the company.
Although eClinicalWorks has been employing P2P technology for several years to connect doctors electronically, it's now making a push to connect doctors on other platforms, Dr. Raj Dharampuriya, eClinicalWorks' chief medical officer, told eWEEK.
Launched on Sept. 17, the Join The Network initiative uses a secure portal called P2POpen to enable doctors to transfer clinical information.
eClinicalWorks will invest an additional $10 million over the next year to further enhance providers' information sharing, whether on paper or electronic, the company reported.
"We are making this investment because we believe that optimal physician collaboration is central to improving the overall quality of patient care," Girish Kumar Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks, said in a statement. "We feel that an open, secure network will help move the industry forward."
Open access to EHRs is a key problem that the health care IT industry is working to address. Groups such as the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup, a coalition of states and health care IT software companies, are working on standards to make interoperability of health records possible.
A vendor-neutral system is critical for sharing patient data among doctors, specialists, nursing homes, labs and pharmacies. Without interoperability for health records, doctors rely on fax machines to share records and coordinate treatment. By transmitting patient data electronically over the secure P2P portal, the records will be in a structured format, said Dharampuriya.
When a specialist send a patient summary with the proper diagnosis claim codes using the eClinicalWorks P2P portal, the primary doctor that receives the information can import the data into the patient's EHR, he said.
"We want to make sure that they're able to import that information into the medical record and make better decisions on how to treat the patient when they get that information," said Dharampuriya.
Being able to share this information will reduce medical errors and save clinicians time, according to eClinicalWorks.
The P2P portal conforms to the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) Direct standards, which the federal government set up to enable secure exchange of health information over the Internet.
eClinicalWorks' P2P network will allow doctors to connect with other physicians, as well as send electronic referrals and patient demographic and insurance information.
The company's platform will enable doctors to share patient records along with progress notes, lab test results, medical summaries and a document called Continuity of Care (CCD), which consists of a patient's critical information on medical history, medications and allergies.
eClinicalWorks' applications are also available on mobile platforms such as Apple iOS and BlackBerry. Doctors can use eClinicalMobile for tasks such as checking schedules, prescribing medication electronically and viewing lab results.