While some might consider the following commentary an ad for Quest Diagnostic’s Care360 EHR, it’s not. I don’t even have them as an advertiser. Plus, you could easily submit a number of other companies name in the place of Quest. However, the following were some thoughts I had after talking with the people behind Care360 EHR at Quest.
First, let me clarify some name issues so we’re all on the same page. Quest Diagnostics is the company. It’s publicly traded on the NYSE with the ticker DGX. Most of you will know about Quest since they’re one of the leading lab companies in the US. MedPlus is the subsidiary within Quest that covers the healthcare IT portion of the company including their EMR software. Care360 is the name of their SaaS EHR software which they sell. Although, Care360 is also used to provide lab results amongst other functions as well.
Now why am I talking about Care360 and Quest? I find it completely fascinating that a company like Quest is part of the EHR landscape. Certainly we have plenty of large and even many publicly traded companies that already provide an EHR, but I see some potential differences between Quest and many of these companies.
One of the biggest fears that doctors have when selecting an EHR company is that they’re afraid of how long that company will be around. Even in the cases of very large companies, there’s still the fear that the large EHR company might get bought out or merged into another company and the EHR software will be left on life support (see Misys being bought by Allscripts for an example). This is a reasonable fear that should be considered during the EMR selection process.
I believe that Quest and Care360 EHR has a distinct advantage in this regard. Quest is not likely to go out of business or even sell off their EHR software to another company. In fact, their Care360 EHR is so tightly coupled with the rest of Quest’s lab services, I’m not sure it would even be possible for Quest to sell off their EHR software if they wanted to do it.
That’s not to say that something couldn’t happen to Care360 that would make Quest change their direction. They could essentially “sell” their users to another EHR vendor through some sort of referral process or they could just choose to shutdown that division of the company because it wasn’t profitable. However, you can be quite sure that they’ll be interested in the transition process. At least if you’re a Quest lab customer. They’re not going to want to lose lab customers because they decided to stop doing EHR.
This is only one factor related to selection of an EMR (see my free EMR selection e-Book for more). There should be some discussion related to how tied you are to Quest if you use their EHR. For example, I can’t remember if Care360 has an interface with LabCorp or not. You might even ask yourself if a Lab company can make great EHR software. They also don’t have a practice management system, but said they’d consider creating one in the future.
It’s like most things in life. There’s pros and cons to everything. You could certainly argue some of the other benefits of going with Quest and Care360 EHR. For example, Quest’s been doing the SaaS based model with their Care360 lab results for a while on a very large scale. They have some expertise in that regard which they can carry over into their EHR product.
Now the question I’m interested in finding out is, what is Labcorp’s approach to EHR?