Say what you want about ObamaCare, but I think we can all agree on the merits of one desired goal…
Digitizing the medical records system.
As it stands, there’s little doubt that the current process is an outdated mess. Old school paper records are still the norm and with no over-arching, streamlined patient database, there’s little coordination between healthcare providers over a patient’s medical history.
But in 2009, President Obama moved to drag the archaic medical records system – kicking and screaming – into the digital age. The government will pump $27.4 billion into modernizing America’s medical record-keeping business by 2021.
And startup firms are reaping the benefits…
Exploiting the Fast-Growing Digital Healthcare Space
One such company is San Francisco-based Practice Fusion.
Launched in 2005, the software outfit’s data-storage technology specializes in safely holding patients’ medical records. And if you need proof that this is a fast-growing area, Bloomberg/Business Week says Practice Fusion now serves 29 million patients. Around 130,000 healthcare centers also use the database to monitor patients’ medical history, schedule appointments and set up prescriptions.
The kicker? It’s free. Practice Fusion garners all of its revenue through advertising.
The company has proved pretty adept at raising money itself, too. In 2011, it raised $23 million worth of financing, with private investors pouring another $2 million into the firm last month.
But Practice Fusion certainly isn’t alone in exploiting the digital healthcare space.
Bloomberg/Business Week also highlights fellow startup, ZocDoc. The company boasts a medical database that allows patients to search for specific doctors online and book appointments with just a few mouse clicks. For patients it’s free, but doctors’ offices pay $250 per month to get listed in the database.
So far, ZocDoc has received over $95 million in funding – a mere drop in the proverbial bucket, given the massive amount of federal money being thrown at this area of the healthcare sector, with more to come in the years ahead. Needless to say, the future for companies like ZocDoc and Practice Fusion is bright.