Thursday, March 12, 2009


It seems everybody wants in on the action. Known for its low-cost food, clothing and appliances, Wal-Mart soon will be offering reasonably priced electronic health record systems.

In a story apparently leaked to the New York Times earlier this week, the big box store will join forces this spring with Dell computers and eClinicalWorks, a provider of healthcare information technology, to offer low-cost EHR systems to physicians, The New York Times reports. Systems are expected to only cost $25,000 for the first physician and $10,000 for additional physicians in a particular (non-acute care) practice.

What's included? Dell is offering its laptops and tablet PCs for physicians to use. eClinicalWorks will provide its electronic health record and practice management software. eClinicalWorks is an Internet-based service that also allows physicians to manage billing and registration online. Dell will install the hardware, while eClinicalWorks will be responsible for installing its software on the PCs, as well as for training and maintenance of the system.

A $19 billion healthcare information technology initiative in the recent stimulus package would provide physicians more than $40,000 over several years for implementation of EHRs, according to the Times.

A former Bush administration healthcare IT official told the Times that such low-cost EHR systems from Wal-Mart could be a "game changer" in the industry's efforts to spur adoption of the technology. Long-term care is working with the rest of healthcare to contribute its portion to the development of an electronic health record system. Bush had set a goal of 2014 for the establishment of such a system.

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