Now that federal health care reform has survived a Supreme Court challenge, many health IT initiatives in the legislation are moving forward. Still others supported by the Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) including grant money for electronic medial records, or 90/10 funding from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to modernize systems have all served to provide significant firepower to the growth of health IT as a market. Private sector health IT firms are finding themselves flush with cash and strong vendor demand. Now, health IT is falling into a familiar plot line – patents versus open source.
According to a recent Deltek report on health IT spending, the federal government spent $4.5 billion on health IT in 2011 and is expected to increase that to $6.5 billion this year. States and municipalities with large health systems are on pace to spend millions themselves adding to their own health IT capabilities. This demand has pushed the young health IT industry into overdrive, rushing to provide technology solutions and cash in.
As the first part of a new $1 million Health Innovation Program, Allscripts, a US-based health care firm has announced an Open App Challenge which asks developers and vendors to to “Start a Revolution” by creating and integrating applications that become an extension of Allscripts’ Open Electronic Health Records software. The company is open to any applications that come out of the challenge but is especially interested in finding applications that manage chronic diseases which are known for their high costs.