ATandT, AMA Merge Collaborative-Care Platforms

AT&T will bolster its Healthcare Community Online platform with an American Medical Association health portal focused on small practices.

AT&T is looking to link small practices with larger hospitals by collaborating with the American Medical Association. The telecom company will add the AMA's Amagine physician community portal to its Healthcare Community Online (HCO) platform. Amagine will bring collaborative-care and additional health information exchange (HIE) functionality.

The AMA is the national professional association that connects doctors around the country to address public health and health policy. Amagine is the technology division of the AMA that provides health care consulting and tech resources.

Cloud software developer Covisint, a division of Compuware, powers both the AMA and AT&T platforms with its ExchangeLink infrastructure.

Announced Feb. 21, the combined platform will leverage the AMA's expertise with physician and patient needs and AT&T's technology, Robert Musacchio, senior vice president of business operations for the AMA, said in a statement.

"With the AMA's extensive knowledge of physician and patient needs, and AT&T's proven track record delivering technology solutions to clients, we expect that physicians and their patients will be able to enjoy the benefits of advanced health IT sooner and with more dramatic results," he said.

AT&T will continue to own and operate HCO as it connects data from patients, physicians and hospitals. HCO is the foundation for health record networks, such as the Indiana Health Information Exchange, which AT&T announced Feb. 9.

AMA serves small physician practices with its health exchange platforms, while AT&T focuses on IT for large health care organizations. The combined platform will be able to address both areas, Randall Porter, assistant vice president for AT&T Business Solutions' ForHealth practice, told eWEEK.

The AMA Amagine portal helps small practices with billing and scheduling, Porter noted. In addition, Amagine offers e-prescribing and electronic health record (EHR) technology for smaller health systems, and AT&T will now incorporate these features into HCO.

Companies such as Ingenix, NextGen Healthcare and Quest Diagnostics' Care360 power the EHR components in Amagine.

Doctors using Amagine will be able to coordinate care with those physicians on AT&T's HCO.

By adding Amagine, AT&T will integrate new analytics and population-management capabilities into HCO, said Porter. The combined platform will also be able to streamline workflows for physician practices and hospitals by allowing physicians to grant referrals, as well as order lab work, test results and medication electronically, AT&T reported.

On Feb. 22, AT&T also added a personal health portal from HealthyCircles to its HCO platform. The portal enables clinical data exchange between patients and doctors and allows patients to access their personal health records.

Meanwhile, at the HIMSS conference, AT&T demonstrated a pilot project that involves monitoring congestive heart failure (CHF) patients at nonprofit health system Texas Health Resources. The health system connects tablets, weight scales and pulse oximeters to Intuitive Health's cloud software platform over AT&T's wireless network.

Texas Health is monitoring CHF patients for 90 days to determine if the remote care can help patients avoid hospital readmissions and allow them to get the care they need in their homes. "Allowing providers and patients to interact remotely helps improve access to care and makes the likelihood of timely interventions much more possible," said Porter.