Will Health IT Stimulus Spending Drive Up Health IT Costs?

Morgantown, WV, December 12, 2010:  Many healthcare CIOs are faced with a serious dilemma as billions in federal stimulus dollars are being made available to implement new EHR systems:  Should they buy proprietary software, and ignore the trends toward open cloud technologies?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and the associated Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act have started the inevitable push towards modernization in the healthcare industry.  The investments will help healthcare organizations pay for new EHR software systems that support “meaningful use” requirements.  Those investments are intended to improve the quality of healthcare across the country.

At the same time, a seemingly conflicting force is at play:  The computing industry is undergoing a radical shift toward the “as a service” delivery model.  The problem is that the stimulus funds were released too quickly for most cloud computing companies to qualify their offerings for the technical definition of meaningful use.  As a result, healthcare CIOs are left with little choice but to invest in older proprietary EHR software systems, many of which will be outdated in a couple years.

Whether the legislation keeps up with the available best-in-class development technology remains an open question.   Many healthcare CIOs are questioning the lifespan and long-term costs of ownership if they invest into older client-server technologies. The HITECH Act incentive payments are encouraging, but there may be cases where even with the incentive, providers may still end up paying more down the road. Healthcare CIOs must look long and hard at how much it will cost to upgrade those HITECH-compliant systems later on, and whether they will be stuck with older software while the rest of the world moves on.

The potential is there however, for a real solution to improving healthcare on all fronts, with newer, web-based, open development environments specifically created for creation of healthcare IT applications.

Virtual Global, a leading cloud computing company and provider of the TeamHost™ toolkit, may have the answer.  Virtual Global’s recently-developed HITPlatform.com ™ addresses this need with an open platform-as-a-service for easily, quickly and affordably developing cloud-based, custom electronic health record software solutions for healthcare organizations.

Using HITPlatform.com, healthcare organizations can use online tools to build out custom solutions on the cloud without the upfront capital investments associated with proprietary EHR software systems.  The open platform allows developers to integrate open source and legacy software systems.  “We are giving CIOs a viable alternative to implementing antiquated, bloated and ridiculously expensive healthcare IT software,” said Cary Landis, CEO of Virtual Global, Inc.

The benefits of these solutions aren’t just monetary. While they do make the back office more efficient, they also provide patients with more and better electronic access to their own records, give physicians better access to accurate information, and most importantly, minimizes the incidence of error. Having the right technology system in place could very well save lives.

HITPlatform.com provides developers with a point-and-click wizard for setting up clinical workspaces, business processes, and record management solutions. The development platform incorporates all core EHR functions, including security, records management and interoperability, making it fully compliant with HITECH Act requirements. HIT Platform also includes Role-based Workflow for regulating access to medical records. HIT Platform was engineered by Virtual Global, under sponsorship from NASA and NIST.

For more information about Virtual Global and the HIT Platform, please visit http://www.hitplatform.com.

About Virtual Global:

Virtual Global is a provider of cloud-enabled enterprise IT solutions, including the TeamHost™ cloud platform for building SaaS applications without programming; TeamLeader™, a project management 2.0 software for tracking and reporting on virtual teams in real-time; and Cloudipedia, a website that brings cloud computing information to entrepreneurs. Since 1995, Virtual Global’s technologies have served commercial and federal customers worldwide with enterprise-class IT needs.