NIIT Technologies Moves into Health Care with EHR Platform

IT provider NIIT Technologies has acquired the Preferr EHR application, as it builds a health care IT business in the Orlando area.

IT company NIIT Technologies announced it will add an electronic health record and referral management software as a service platform as it enters the health care space.

NIIT will launch its health care IT business in Orlando, Fla.

Now in use by health care professionals in central Florida, the EHR platform Preferr allows physicians to better handle patient referrals and exchange information among physicians, hospitals and laboratories, the company reports.

"The acquisition of 'Preferr' is a major initiative to provide solutions in health care IT," Lalit Dhingra, NIIT's president, said in a statement.

NIIT has acquired the platform to meet federal guidelines on meaningful use of EHRs, according to Dhingra.

"The platform enables providers to meet federal guidelines for electronic health record's meaningful use criteria and will enable NIIT to pursue this space and mark its presence within the health care arena," he said.

In addition, the hosted application service will improve continuity of care and make medical facility operations more efficient, according to NIIT.

Visions@Work, a developer of health care software and Web services, created the Preferr application, NIIT reports, and that company's founder is Pranam Ben, who is now head of NIIT's health care division.

"The platform is an innovative SAAS-based IP that collaborates between various care entities by enhancing the portability, reusability, integrity and history of health records," Ben said in a statement. "Being a SAAS-based platform, it operates on the cloud whereby in addition to ease in collaboration, it is a green-IT initiative that will help health care providers reduce their carbon footprint," he added.

For an annual subscription, Preferr allow health care providers to receive, respond, track and manage referrals, according to Visions@Work.

Physicians can share EHRs along with data on patients' demographics. Providers can designate their affiliations and manage the information through an online portal.

In addition, health care professionals can communicate in real time with other providers and send automatic notifications of referral status. Electronic referrals allow health care companies to save the costs and delays of paper referrals, according to Visions@Work.

The HIPAA-compliant software also features an analytics capability to generate reports based on referral patterns.

Preferr has a $2,400 setup fee for hospitals but none for other facilities. The annual subscription costs $2,400 per year for hospitals and $1,200 for other providers.

EHR platforms such as Preferr show a loss in revenue for health care providers during an initial training phase but will likely lead to revenue increases later, according to a recent report by CDW.

Based in New Delhi, India, NIIT is a major player in IT services. The company currently serves other industries such as banking, insurance, retail and travel with application development, managed services and IT outsourcing practices.

NIIT has reported robust growth during 2010. "We experienced all-around sequential growth from all geographies and in every industry segment of focus," Arvind Thakur, NIIT's CEO, said in a statement. Revenue grew by 4 percent for the quarter ending Sept. 30 over the same period last year, Thakur said.