November 21, 2013

As healthcare providers move toward accountable care organizations (ACO) and patient-centered medical home (PCMH) models of care delivery, integrated clinical resources and mobile health management tools are increasingly critical to success.

“Mobility is becoming day-to-day in healthcare. It needs its own platform,” Girish Navani, eClinicalWorks co-founder and CEO told mHealth News. “We’re doubling up on that investment … and going all out.”

The Westborough, Mass.-based developer of ambulatory health IT solutions, in fact, is putting an additional $50 million into its healow online health and wellness platform and population health programs.

Navani said the investment will add roughly 100 software developers to the company’s resources, and boost development of home-monitoring tools, a website where patients can locate doctors and schedule appointments, and patient check-in solutions for doctor’s offices and clinics.

Surveys conducted by eClinicalWorks over the past year found that 93 percent of physicians see value in a mobile app connected to the electronic health record, 93 percent believe mobile apps can improve a patient’s health, and 89 percent are likely to recommend such an app to patients.

“We’ve found that if the provider of care is in that equation, the patient tends to act positively,” Navani said. “We need to focus on that.”

Offering one example, eClinicalWorks officials pointed to Gwinnett Center Medical Associates, based in Lawrenceville, Ga.

“Gwinnett Center began using healow to help maintain an open dialogue with our patients and expand the benefits of the Patient Portal,” said Shari Crooker, RN, the group’s practice administrator, in a prepared statement. Crooker added that Gwinnett’s patients “are using the Patient Portal more through healow than through traditional computers,” and the provider intends to add new patient engagement tools in the future.

eClinicalWorks latest injection of funding follows a $25 million investment in February 2013 that pushed healow onto a patient-facing app nearly 14 million people currently use to send more than 5 million messages to patients monthly.

Navani said the new software developers will join a group that’s expected to swell to 400 during the coming year, and will be focused on new mHealth ideas. He sees the unit as similar to a start-up in philosophy, and said they’ll be left alone to “invent.”

“I expect some ideas that I have not thought of today,” he said. “We want to put everything up on the whiteboard and see what sticks.”


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