HP, Quest Diagnostics to Bundle EHR Platform

Hewlett-Packard and Quest Diagnostics will offer a joint EMR or EHR health care IT package targeting small and midsize doctor's offices.

Hewlett-Packard has joined in a co-marketing program with MedPlus, the IT unit of medical laboratory company Quest Diagnostics, to offer its hardware products along with MedPlus' online-based Care360 EHR software.

MedPlus will bundle its EHR (electronic health records) platform with HP's hardware, services and financing to make it easier for physicians to choose an EHR package.

According to MedPlus, "Care360 EHR is used by more than 160,000 physicians in more than 70,000 locations."

For Quest Diagnostics, HP's hardware was a good fit because of the focus of the two companies on general practitioner, or ambulatory, facilities, MedPlus Chief Operating Officer Phil Present told eWEEK.

"Our principal area of focus from a Quest perspective is to support the small physician offices and bring them the kind of technology [needed] to enable them to qualify for stimulus funding," Present explained.

The joint effort will target small and midsize offices of one to 20 doctors. "What we both recognize is that we're really targeting an underserved portion of the physician office market today-that is one to 10," Present said. "A number of offices are starting from scratch from a technology perspective," he added.

The bundle consists of MedPlus' Care360 application and HP's hardware, installation and support. "HealthDynamix, the health care division of [online retailer] PC Mall and an HP PartnerOne Healthcare Elite Partner, will deliver the solution, providing hardware implementation and support services," HP said in a news release. Care360 includes lab orders, results reporting and electronic prescribing, Present said.

"With HealthDynamics and MedPlus, we'll be able to provide the full solution to those physicians," Chris Mertens, vice president of health care in HP's Personal Systems Group, told eWEEK.

Health care professionals do not require enterprise-class hardware to run the Care360 EHR application, according to Mertens. "They need hardware that fits their marketplace, so we've provided a recommended product portfolio to enable physicians to make the right choices on hardware with assistance from our partner," Mertens explained, referring to HealthDynamics.

HP Financial Services will offer "leasing and life-cycle asset-management services" on a monthly payment plan, while showing physicians how to finance the right hardware to achieve meaningful use without taxing the budget, Mertens said. HP and Quest are looking to make EHR bundles easier to obtain through a monthly, pay-as-you-go subscription model.

"For hospitals as well as physicians, the market's sort of heading toward a subscription-type model that everyone believes is the ideal state for EMR [electronic medical records'," Mertens said. "That's something that MedPlus has up and running."

The alternative to subscriptions is the "perpetual license model," Present said, meaning a large payment up front.

Present said he expects the subscription model to catch on among small physician practices as they look to avoid the large upfront cost of an EMR bundle.

"Without question, these are small businesses-they can't afford to write a huge check on Day One to acquire software," Present said. "This model will become commonplace in the small physician offices."

HP and MedPlus will begin a national tour in Baltimore, Md., on Oct. 28 to orient physicians regarding EMRs or EHRs and the government's meaningful-use requirements.