New handheld diagnostic devices plug into EHR

Medical devices and EHRs are getting closer and closer. An Austin, TX-based company, PracticeITprn, has just launched what it calls an "integrated diagnostic and software suite" for primary-care physicians.

Medical devices and EHRs are getting closer and closer. An Austin, TX-based company, PracticeITprn, has just launched what it calls an "integrated diagnostic and software suite" for primary-care physicians. This consists of a cluster of palm-sized diagnostic devices that can be carried from room to room and can exchange data wirelessly with a proprietary EHR. The initial offering includes an EKG, a spirometer, a blood pressure gauge, and a pulse oximeter (along with associated parts such as a spirometry breathing tube); a blood analyzer that can do HbA1c, electrolyte and other common studies is planned for later on.

"The EHR portion is presented on a tablet or a thin-client computer terminal, and the results will come up on the screen for the doctor," says company CEO Bob Teague, who used to be a practicing physician. The devices are FDA-approved, he notes, and PracticeITprn will help physicians conform with CLIA.

The company has a hybrid pricing model that combines monthly fees for EHR use, maintenance and support with a "fee-for-use" of the devices. Teague estimates the monthly cost would range from $400-$500 per practice, plus test fees ("under $1" each), to $2,000 for a high-volume practice (including the device fee-for-use).

"One of the value propositions we bring to the physician practice is the capability to improve its revenue stream," says Teague. "Most EHRs are just cost centers."

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