[ Friday, April 14, 2006 ]


Dell's Employee EHR initiative: It makes sense that technology companies would be in the vanguard of the electronic health record/electronic medical record proliferation, since the developers and sellers of those systems (and of other hardware and software that use or interface with them) have business reasons to be involved. Naturally, EMRs make sense for providers who need the records for daily business, want to be able to easily access, collate, search, and retrieve those records, and profit from the savings in time and space that digitalizing those records can deliver. But the biggest public-good reasons for the ease and convenience of EHRs relate to the uses an individual might have in being able to access, store, and transmit his/her whole medical record easily to a new provider (especially in an emergency). This doesn't match up with the providers wants/needs, though, so that type of consumer focus has not been the direction EMRs/EHRs have taken.

However, the payor is a closer surrogate for the patient than the provider is. Even still, an insurance company or other third-party payor has limited connection with its insured, and has little to gain by pursuing that type of consumer-focused EHR route. However, when the payor is the employer (i.e., an ERISA self-insured plan), there's a closer connection and a certain additional paternalism that an employer might express (healthy workers are happy and productive workers); additionally, the employer might offer the EHR to its employees simply as an added perk of employment.

When the employer is a tech company, there's even more impetus. So it should come as no surprise that one of the first employers in the news for pushing an EHR down to its employees is Dell Computer Company.

Jeff [10:06 AM]

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