eClinicalWorks, an electronic health record company, has announced a $25 million investment over the next year in the consumer engagement market by launching the Health and Online Wellness (Healow) business unit.
Announced on Feb. 6, Healow is an effort to better connect patients with their doctors and medical data.
"It's about patients having access and information to make the right decisions and make them consumers of care," Girish Kumar Navani, CEO and co-founder of eClinicalWorks, told eWEEK.
The new business unit launches with a Healow mobile app, which will be available on iOS and Android later in February. A version for Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10 will follow by May, said Navani.
Healow will connect with eClinicalWorks' Join the Network, a platform that allows doctors to share health records even if they're using an application from another EHR provider. Launched on Sept. 17, Join The Network consists of a secure portal called P2POpen that enables physicians to share clinical information.
The Healow app provides access to patients' and family members' health records and allows for two-way communication between providers and patients.
If doctors are using eClinicalWorks' EHR platform, patients will be able to view their records, including medications, immunizations and vital data through the mobile app. Doctors not using eClinicalWorks applications won't be able to push these updates, but patients can still use the app to monitor their own records, including medication schedules and setting reminders.
Patient engagement tools provided by the Healow app will enable doctors to better coordinate care under the Affordable Care Act, eClinicalWorks reported.
The app connects consumers to the eClinicalWorks Patient Portal, which allows patients to access reminders, statements, education materials and test results while keeping in touch with their doctors electronically.
Patients will use the app to access the patient portal as well as manage health record summaries, send messages to their doctors and request medication refills.
Healow will enable remote monitoring by connecting the mobile app and patient portal with medical devices such as pedometers, blood pressure cuffs and blood glucose monitors, said Navani. The data will flow into patients' health records.
"[Healow] is about patients using it, home devices connecting into it and creating a marketplace where consumers can make the right decisions," said Navani.
The Healow app's launch follows a January email survey eClinicalWorks conducted in which the company found that 89 percent of doctors were likely to recommend a mobile health app to patients. For the survey, eClinicalWorks interviewed 2,300 health care customers, and 650 of them were physicians.
In addition, 93 percent of doctors interviewed found value in connecting a mobile health app to EHRs and 93 percent of physician respondents also saw mobile health apps improving a patient's health outcome.
Under the Affordable Care Act, doctors are grouping together in accountable care organizations and will receive Medicare incentives for positive health outcomes, such as longevity of life or whether chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension have been contained.
In the eClinicalWorks survey, almost half of doctors saw patients' access to medical records as a top benefit of connecting a mobile app to an EHR.
Medication adherence was another key benefit of connecting mobile apps to EHRs for nearly two-thirds of doctors surveyed.