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Posts Tagged ‘Covisint’

Last week was the massive Salesforce.com user conference Dreamforce (massive in that there were more attendees at Dreamforce then this year’s HIMSS!). We’ve been reviewing more than a few articles and writings written by those who attended the event. In the few short years of its existence (~13yrs) Salesforce.com has become one of the leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendors in the market and basically pushed the previous leader Siebel to the brink and into the arms of Oracle. Salesforce is arguably the leader in the Software as a Service (SaaS) market and thus someone to pay close attention to on all things “Cloud Computing.”

So what makes Salesforce.com so compelling and what are some parallels to the healthcare sector?

Similar Market Demographics: From the beginning Salesforce has always been structured as a SaaS and targeted the hard to reach and highly distributed sales forces of companies of all sizes. Actually, they first targeted the small to medium business (SMB) market and once successful there, went after Siebel in big enterprises. In healthcare, the vast majority of care is provided by small, 1-3 physician practices that are highly distributed across the country – perfect target for a hosted SaaS offering.

Deliver Value, Not Pain: Since most sales people get a large portion of their salary via commissions, the last thing they want to do is hassle with software that is cumbersome to use. Salesforce.com’s user interface (UI) is very intuitive and surprisingly customizable (within limits) for an SaaS offering. This allows a sales person to configure the the solution to their specific needs. We hear time and again from physicians that the EHR they are being forced to use doesn’t fit their workflow and is often painful to use. (Having been demo’d more than our fair share of EHR solutions, it still shocks us just how awful the UI is for these solutions.) Like their sales brethren, physicians need solutions that fit their processes and do not slow them down.

Fold in Rich Communication Tools: At this year’s Dreamforce, Salesforce.com CEO Marc Beniof spend a substantial amount of time focusing on the rich communication tools that Salesforce is embedding to tap the move to social networks. Right now, the US Government is dumping over a half billion dollars to stand-up HIEs in every State and enterprises are easily spending double that amount to facilitate information exchange in support of referrals, lab distribution, orders, etc. What if a Salesforce for healthcare arrived on the scene allowing physicians to securely exchange information in the same manner that those on Salesforce.com use that platform for secure ad hoc communication with internal and external partners to meet customer needs?

Provide Robust Security – No Leakage: Sales leads are a sales person’s bread and butter and they guard them with their lives for it truly is their livelihood. Thus, Salesforce had to build a system that ensured a sales person’s leads were their own with no possibility of a breach (leakage) to a competitor. If Salesforce can meet this strict requirement, is it such a stretch to preserve the integrity of personal health information (PHI) on such a system?

Focus on the Data & Deliver Simple Yet Useful Analytics: Sales is often a numbers game. This requires superior, robust data management and ultimately the ability to create a wide variety of pre-configured and customizable reports. As we move towards value-based contracts, providers of all sizes will be asked to provide reports as well (typically on quality metrics) to those paying the bills (CMS, payers, etc.).

Provide an Ecosystem: Salesforce has a vision to provide an ecosystem of third party apps on top of their platform but to date, like most companies, they have struggled to make much headway here. But in time, as more and more IT functions move to the “Cloud” to support an increasingly mobile device centric world, an ecosystem is inevitable. In healthcare, where one might successfully argue that physicians are one of the most mobile of professions, accessing apps via mobile devices is quickly becoming standard practice. Increasingly, the healthcare market and in particularly those far-flung physician practices, will look to ecosystems of apps delivered over the Web to their mobile device (touch-screen tablet) to support their practices.

Adhere to KISS Principle: Like sales professionals and for that matter just about any other professional worth their salt, physicians in private practices are extremely busy and the last thing they need is to fuss around with software maintenance and upgrades. Subscribing to a SaaS takes that big upgrade headache and slams it with a double dose of Excedrin.

This got us to thinking…

Who in the Healthcare IT (HIT) market might become the Salesforce.com of HIT?

EHR Vendors:
We can’t think of a single vendor in the EHR market that has the foresight, the vision, the chutzpa to pull off a Salesforce.com move. Sure, one can point to PracticeFusion (who happens to have received backing from Salesforce) but we don’t see the vision there. What about athenahealth you might ask? Yes, they like to portray themselves as such, but honestly, their bread n’butter solution is not a SaaS play but more of a straight services play delivered via the Internet and a lot of old school back office processing in a warehouse in Maine. All the other EHR vendors? Either they’re too small to matter or chained to their legacy business models that they can not break free of to deliver the scale and gravitas of a Salesforce.com like solution for healthcare.

HIE Vendors:
Increasingly, HIE vendors are providing simple EHRs targeting ambulatory practices, they certainly have the information exchange piece covered (to highly varying degrees) are beginning to fold in analytics (big reason why UHG acquired Axolotl) and some are looking to provide an ecosystem play such as Medicity with its iNexx platform, Covisint with its AppCloud or even Microsoft’s somewhat aborted attempt with Amalga. Yet, despite these efforts, we do not see any one HIE company really grasping the reigns and running away with the prize. Each of the aforementioned vendors have their own reasons why they haven’t quite captured the imagination of the healthcare sector and we are not holding our breath waiting for someone to breakout.

Others:
Emdeon has a huge presence in the market as a clearinghouse for claims processing and having just been taken private by private equity firm Blackstone, they may try to make such a play. At the most recent HIMSS sat down with Emdeon for a briefing where they hinted to a desire to move more directly into clinicals, but to date, we’ve seen nothing materialize and it is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Emdeon also has the very real issue of their existing business model (did you no their number one capital expense is postage stamps?) that will keep them on the sidelines.

NaviNet is similar to Emdeon in that they already have a direct connection into the physician’s office with some one million plus healthcare providers using their service. NaviNet has the links but it does not appear that they want to get into the nitty gritty of providing a host of other services and offerings on top of their existing platform. It appears that NaviNet will add small incremental services to their platform rather than go for the whole enchilada keeping the platform simple and streamlined.

Surescripts is making a play in the HIE market with its Kryptiq partnership offering the Clinical Interoperability platform. While still early in its development. the Surescripts play is the closest thing we have seen to date to match the existing Salesforce juggernaut and the one to watch.

Now we certainly do not claim to have all the answers, never have. That is why we have a comments section below. So dear readers, we’ve given you are analysis and now it’ your turn. Who do you think is in the best position to become the Salesforce.com of the HIT market?

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The long awaited, dare I say anticipated HIE Market Report is now complete and ready for purchase. This report, arguably the most comprehensive report yet published on this rapidly evolving market (116pgs, 21 vendors profiled, 0ver 25 tables and figures) will provide the reader with a detailed portrait of today’s HIE Market, its leading vendors, and the capabilities that they bring to market. Here’s the HIE Report’s Table of Contents (warning PDF).

The report is the culmination of interviews with countless HIE stakeholders, from State and regional officials, to healthcare CIOs, consultants and of course the HIE vendors as well. Combining these interviews with our own methodology for secondary research, the report comes presents a number of findings including:

  • A definitive classification schema of current HIE vendors that will clarify what appears at first glance as a very convoluted market.
  • The transition that is occurring as vendors move from SaaS to PaaS models and its future impact on the market.
  • The clear differences and similarity of needs of Enterprise and Public HIEs.
  • An HIE Maturity Model that will help adopters of this technology better understand the transitions that will be needed as their platform matures over time.
  • Comprehensive profiles on 21 leading HIE vendors including rankings on a number of HIE attributes as well as market presence.

If you are involved in any aspect of the HIE market, you would do your company a favor by purchasing this report. Really, it is that good.

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On Monday, Covisint announced that it had acquired DocSite. Yesterday, we were finally able to catch-up with Covisint VP Brett Furst to get some background on the acquisition.  Following is what we learned and our assessment.

Some Background:
Covisint was orignally founded by the Big Three auto makers to assist them with their supplier relations and procurement strategies.  To meet the needs of these automotive companies and their need for strict intellectual property (IP) control and secure communication with their supply base, Covisint built a very robust communication platform with strong, federated identity and security management.  Not too surprisingly, these security features lend themselves quite well to the need to communicate health data securely across a network, thus Covisint’s move into these sector several years ago. Today, Covisint is the technology behind the Southeast MI HIE, my1HIE and the Minnesota HIE.

Covisint’s HIE platform can be broken down into two core pieces: ExchangeLink and AppCloud.  ExchangeLink is the the technology backbone for Covisint’s providing the fundamental building blocks for an HIE including messaging, Master Patient Index (MPI) Record Locator Service (RLS), portal, etc.  ExchangeLink has also been architected and positioned to serve in a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model with application programming interfaces (APIs) that are shared with third party partners to create a rich ecosystem of applications that can potentially be deployed within a given HIE. Covisint has been working closely with the American Medical Association to build out this PaaS model and the the third party vendors are found within what Covisint has branded as their AppCloud.

To date, Covisint has relied heavily on its third party partners within AppCloud to provide the various added functionality that a client may need within the context of an HIE with Covisint providing the basic plumbing via ExchangeLink.  With the acquisition of DocSite, a subtle change to their strategy has occurred.

The Acquisition:
Covisint has only made three acquisitions to date in the healthcare sector.  The first was ProviderLink in 2006, a small (30 employee) company that had a healthcare-specific messaging workflow solution. ProviderLink was picked up for $12M. The second was another backoffice infrastructure play, Hilgraeve, which Covisint acquired in 2008.  Hilgraeve had HyperSend PDX which facilitated data exchange between practice management systems and EHRs as well as importing data (labs) into an EHR.  Again, more of a backoffice solution to further strengthen ExchangeLink and its applicability to the healthcare sector.

DocSite, which has been a partner of Covisint via the AppCloud, is primarily a provider of quality measurement tools such as PQRI but also has some other tools such as clinical decision support. DocSite is a clinician facing application that is designed to help an institution meet quality guidelines in support of pay for performance initiatives.  DocSite also offers a number of tools for quality reporting that are critical in the support of meaningful use requirements as well. Clearly, DocSite is not an infrastructure play as the last two acquisitions were and signals a change at Covisint that they will not rely strictly on AppCloud partners going forward.

Assessment:
The PaaS model remains a tough sell in the still immature HIE market and Covisint likely struggled to market this concept to state and local officals, as well as enterprises who are in the market for an HIE.  While ExchangeLink may be a fine platform, it is only that, a platform and there is really quite a bit more that organizations seek from their HIE vendor and these organization may have been reluctant to first need to create a relationship with Covisint, then secondly, choose from the among the AppCloud partners and set-up separate agreements with them. Simply too much to manage and this goes against the preferred approach of “having one throat to choke” should something go wrong. By itself, ExchangeLink was simply not competitive in this rapidly changing market.

DocSite looks to be a savvy acquisition as it brings a high value proposition to the table by addressing one of the most critical metrics in the healthcare sector today, measuring and quantifying quality of care delivered. The new meaningful use Stage 1 requires some quality metrics to be measured and reported. DocSite within the Covisint platform can meet that need, which will only increase in future Stages 2 & 3.  There is also the broader changes coming from the Healthcare Reform bill that will accelerate the transition to pay for performance/pay for quality.  Again, DocSite’s quality reporting/analytics will facilitate a clinician/institution in meeting those requirements.

It is likely that Covisint will accelerate its acquisition strategy to acquire other, small companies (DocSite has ~30 employees and 80 customers) that will be clinician facing to fill specific targeted niches (gaps) of its HIE platform. More broadly, HIE vendors as a whole will also increase their emphasis on providing quality reporting tools either through partnership or acquisition. For example, Care Evolution has a partnership with Thomson-Reuters and more recently, Ingenix, which has a host of reporting capabilities, acquired Axolotl.

In this rapidly moving market, there is one constant – Change. Stay tuned.

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A couple of weeks ago Chilmark Research did a small piece on the need for HIE vendors to move beyond silo’d standalone exchanges to a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model.  In the write-up, the HIE vendor Axolotl was mentioned for their recent announcement of a third party image viewing app that was now available on their platform.  In speaking with Axolotl’s President, Glenn Keet, he stated that this was the first app of many that would eventually be hosted on the platform. As Keet rightly put it; there are far too many needs in healthcare for any one vendor to satisfy and that partnershps wil be critical moving forward.

As a result of that post, Chilmark received several private emails from HIE vendors all stating that they were on a similar track to Axolotl’s.  One of those who contacted us was Covisint, who announced their AppCloud last week.  (for more background on Covisint, see the piece we wrote over a year ago) written We had a briefing with Covisint late last week and Covisint was kind enough to send us their slide deck from the Healthcare IT Summit where they announced AppCloud.

appcloud1In this first slide, Covisint lays out the key attributes of a PaaS model, both for independent software vendors (ISVs) and end-users (clinicians). Nothing wrong with those value propositions but I would add one for end users, ability to easily switch among various apps, say from one EMR solution to another.  Covisint also left out one potential beneficiary, those hosting the HIE.  As we mentioned in the previous PaaS post, far too many RHIOs do not have sustainable business models.  Offering access to apps, conducting simple transaction services (reporting for meaningful use) etc. could provide these RHIOs with a steady revenue stream.

appcloud2Now this is a great slide for it clearly shows how bringing together multiple solutions and services into one PaaS can facilitate a physician’s need to meet the multitude of “meaningful use” requirements.  Another key benefit of the PaaS model is that a physician need only do a single sign-on to access all the apps and services on Covisint.  This is both more secure and a lot easier to deal with then having to log-in separately to a multiple apps.

appcloud3The AMA is Covisint’s lighthouse customer (early adopter) of the AppCloud concept and has been working closely with Covisint to build out these capabilities to serve their membership. The AMA has some pretty big plans for this service, including offering an EMR from AllScripts, but it remains to be seen just how extensive this service will ultimately be and more important, whether or not its membership will find value in it.  AMA’s track record in the software arena is hardly stellar (Medem) and not convinced their venture here will succeed but wil give them credit for at least being creative and pushing the envelop.

Looking Ahead:

While Chilmark Research may have been one of the first analyst firms to write on the topic of HIE vendors morphing into healthcare-centric PaaS, it appears that the vendors themselves have been spending some time thinking about this issue and how they can structure themselves to capitalize on this evolution in the market.  The future battleground will likely be the fight for partners.

There are only so many stellar ISVs with broad brand recognition in the market.  The Axolotls, Covisints, etc. will be out in the market courting the best-of-breed ISVs to build to their platform first and not a competitors. The skill and speed at which these HIE vendors can land those relationships will be a key metric to watch as this market, with $560M coming down the pike, shifts into high gear.

 

 

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iaas-paas-saasAn interesting, and somewhat overlooked press release came out last week from the health information exchange (HIE) vendor Axolotl wherein they announced that a third party independent software vendor (ISV), eHealth Global Technologies, would be available on top of the core Axolotl HIE application, Elysium Exchange.  The new app, Elysium Image Exchange allows for secure image exchange among HIE participants.  Though the new application may appear like nothing more than Axolotl contracting out the building of an app desired by its HIE customers, there is a more here than meets the eye.

HIE Vendors as Future PaaS for Clinical Needs

Independent HIE vendors (not part of a larger EMR vendor) such as Axolotl, Covisint, dbMotion, InterSystems, Medicity and RelayHealth are in a unique position to become more than just an HIE focusing on the exchange of clinical records but could become Platform as a Service (PaaS) vendors providing a wide range of services and apps on top of their core infrastructure, OS and App Server stack.  The following two figures illustrate what is possible should these vendors open up their application programming interface (APIs) to allow other ISVs to build apps on top of their HIE platform.

HIE1

HIE2

HIE vendors are in an ideal position to become a PaaS for they already have the key features necessary.  As aggregators and distributors of clinical data in a secure fashion, these vendors have the core infrastructure already in place.  They have the data repository, they have the master patient index (MPI) and they understand what is required to address privacy and security requirements of data exchange within a network.  What these vendors, by and large have not done is open their APIs to third party ISVs to truly create a PaaS.

In speaking with Axolotl’s president Glenn Keet he stated that they came to the realization that they alone could not move fast enough to meet the needs of the market.  While they currently offer an CCHIT certified “EMR lite” for small physician practices there are a multitude of other services that they foresee.  For example, within the “meaningful use” criteria that physicians will need to demonstrate to receive reimbursement for EHR adoption, there are a number of quality reports that must be created and filed with CMS.  Keet envisions ISVs leveraging Axolotl’s APIs to create services to automate such reporting.  Meaningful use criteria also will require physicians to sponsor a PHR for their customers.  Again, with an open API, PHR ISVs could sit on top of the Axolotl (or other HIE vendor) platform and provide such capabilities. Clinical decision support (CDS) tools are another app/service that would be ideally suited to sitting on top of an HIE PaaS.

Microsoft is another vendor who is now venturing in to the HIE market with its Amalga platform, which is the foundation for the Wisconsin HIE (WHIE).  Using its core Amalga UIS along with HealthVault, Microsoft could also create a clinical PaaS with a multitude of ISVs providing services to the physician market. To date and to our knowledge, this has not occurred but we’re pretty sure Microsoft is looking into providing such capabilities as it would be in alignment with other actions that they have done to date in the healthcare sector.

What this may portend is the creation of PaaS that support the concept of substitutable apps as laid out by Ken Mandle and Issac Kohane of Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP) Boston. Another proponent is David Kibbe with what he refers to as Clinical Groupware a concept he first described back in Febuary 2009.  In each of these examples, the dominant theme is the move away from monolithic EMR/EHR apps to small, lightweight apps that are invoked when needed.  More information on this concept can be found at the recently created site: ITdotHealth (Note: Unfortunately, at the recent meeting at Harvard Medical School, Health Information as a Platform, which was organized by Mandl and Kohane, outside of Microsoft, there did not appear to be any representation from HIE vendors.)

An Opportunity for RHIOs to Become Viable?

A lot of effort and money is now being poured into the build-out of public Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) that are commonly referred to as Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs).  While many see it crucial to build out this information exchange infrastructure to support care coordination (a key criteria for stimulus funding reimbursement for EHR adoption), the challenge for RHIOs has been to create a business plan that insures long-term viability of a RHIO once grant funding drys up.  The market is littered with failed, failing and simply struggling RHIOs.  Recently, while sitting in on a conference call where a State RHIO discussed their go-live plans a question was asked: Do you have a model for sustaining the RHIO long-term?  To which the Executive Director of the RHIO replied, No.

But might not a RHIO that is actually a PaaS for a given region or State, become a provider of Clinical Groupware including a range of services and applications such as multiple lightweight EMRs to choose from, say one for pediatrics, another for orthopedists, a third for general practioners, quality reporting services, a range of CDS apps, etc. charging a small transaction fee for the use of such services and thereby begin to create viable service-based business? We think so and see this as the next evolution in the HIE market.

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Covisint is one of those companies that shows up in a market, seemingly from nowhere, strikes a couple of partnerships many wonder, where did they come from?

In February 2008, Covisint had a co-announcement with AT&T on being selected by the State of Tennessee to be the infrastructure backbone for the state’s eHealth initiative (Vanderbilt professor Mark Frisse did a good write-up on this announcement). Covisint also announced in that same month a partnership with Microsoft’s HealthVault. Finally in late June, a joint announcement was made by AT&T, Covisint and HealthVault. It was this last announcement that prodded me to dig deeper into Covisint

First-off, having been an analyst for several years in the manufacturing space and for a time addressing supply chain/e-procurement, Covisint was no stranger to me.

  • Covisint was formed in 1999 to address supply chain/e-procurement for the big three auto companies.
  • Ran into all sorts of challenges as e-procurement was far from ready for prime-time.
  • Almost went bankrupt, was shopped around, Compuware picked them up in 2004.
  • Platform was delivering some value to auto industry, particularly for supply chain collaboration. Such collaboration required strict identity mgmt & secure messaging. Covisint also built out a portal solution allowing users to create personalized portals with Web Service calls to numerous apps across the automotive supply chain.

Had a call last week with their VP of Healthcare, Brett Furst, who told me the following:

  • Covisint began targeting this market 3 yrs ago. Research points to the healthcare portal they developed and released in 2005 with first customer being BCBS of MI.
  • Currently they offer 3 key services on an SaaS (Software as a Service) model; identity management, secure messaging and a portal framework. All 3 services were originally developed for auto industry supply chain requirements.
  • Growth to date has been ~170%/yr. In 2007, 30% of Covisint’s annual revenue (~$40M) came from the healthcare sector. In 2008, over 50% of Covisint’s revenue is projected to come from healthcare.
  • There are 18,000 physicians using the Covisint platform today. (I estimate 35-40% are based in MI).
  • Flat fee set-up with annual subscription cost (cost depends on how much you want to do and can vary from $3/month to nearly $100/month). There is a transaction fee layered on top of that, again cost of transaction dependent on complexity.
  • Focus on Payer/health plan market and to lesser extent mid-size physician practices. Current customers include 9 Medicaid plans and 180 health plans.
  • Positioning themselves as “The Comcast of Healthcare” being completely agnostic to both applications and platforms. They want to provide the backbone upon which other apps will ride, like an HBO or Showtime channel. Thus, they do not see HIT vendors as competitors but as “channels” riding on top of their backbone service. For the Personal Health System (PHS) platform plays (Dossia, Google and HealthVault) same story.
  • Value prop: provide secure digital backbone to allow physicians and extended care practices to interact (have some 200 APIs to various HIT apps). For health plans, its all about simplifying workflow and payment processing.

Within the context of a PHS, Covisint will play an important role for HealthVault on a several fronts.

  • First, Covisint’s secure messaging capabilities will allow physicians to readily move a customer’s clinical files to a HealthVault account. A physician could even initiate the creation of a HealthVault account for a customer (auto register). Likewise, secure messaging will allow a consumer to push files to a physician who is on the Covisint platform.
  • Conversely, Covisint’s numerous APIs to various HIT apps as well as support of multiple HIT standards will allow data from a consumer’s HealthVault record to auot-populate their physician’s EMR platform. Also, biometric data from the 40 some odd devices now compatible with HealthVault could also be automatically fed into the physician’s EMR for tracking health status, thus enabling remote telehealth practices.
  • If the physician does not want thi data going directly into their EMR, they could instead use the Covisint portal technology to create specific consumer portlets that may facilitate tracking of care, though this may be more pain than its worth.
  • The secure messaging service could morph into enabling HealthVault account owners to request eRx refills, schedule appointments and even e-Consults.
  • With 18,000 physicians currently using the Covisint service, HealthVault has the potential to readily tap into these physicians and receive clinical records to populate consumers’ HealthVault accounts.
  • There is also the possibility that combining Covisint capabilities with the HealthVault data repository and the AT&T VPN a physician could theoretically create an inexpensive EMR, though data access and control will be governed by the consumer and not the physician. That could get tricky!

Stepping back and putting on the tough cynic hat of an analyst, here is where I see some problems or at least incongruities:

  • For a small practice, using Covisint isn’t exactly cheap. Those monthly fees coupled with transaction fees will certainly add-up. Thus, it is unlikely that providers themselves will run out and adopt the platform without some major incentives, as in the case of Tennessee, or financial support from health plans.
  • I have a hard time reconciling Covisint’s claims to being application agnostic, particularly as it pertains to messaging. Most EMR companies have secure messaging services, (e.g., Epic has a peer-to-peer messaging platform, albeit only with other Epic systems), Medem and RelayHealth offer messaging as well and are agnostic to an underlying EMR. Will Covisint’s messaging service eliminate the need for one of these other services? Also, the Covisint portal technology competes with similar solutions already in the market.
  • For a company that is making a major push into the healthcare sector, their website has not kept pace. There are several pages dedicated to specific healthcare stakeholder groups (e.g., RHIOs, Hospitals, Payers, etc.) some case studies and PRs, but when one goes to dig into the actual services/applications that Covisint provides all messaging is written for the automotive supply chain sector. Makes me question what Covisint’s level of commitment is to healthcare if they can’t go down to a deeper level of articulation on what their platform provides the healthcare sector.
  • Beyond getting the messaging right, Covisint has few true partners in the healthcare sector. Sure, they have partnerships with Initiate Systems, AT&T and HealthVault, but beyond that no other partnerships are to be found.

Bottom-line:

Covisint does have a robust platform that has proven itself in the automotive sector and could potentially provide an extremely valuable service to the healthcare sector. Many talk of privacy and security in healthcare, which is critical, but if you want to see privacy and security in action, take a look at what Covisint had to do in the automotive sector to insure that competing interests did not peer into one another’s supply chains. Now that is privacy! Covisint put a lot of time and effort into solving that problem for the automotive sector and their move into healthcare should be a welcomed one. In addition, operating on an SaaS model is also a good fit for the healthcare sector as few healthcare practices do HIT very well, so why not hand over such infrastructure tasks to Covisint.

Covisint is not without challenges, however, chief among them is getting their pricing model right for broader adoption and demonstrating that they are serious about healthcare by cleaning up their messaging and expanding their partnerships.

And don’t be too surprised to see Covisint announce a similar partnership with Dossia.  After all, AT&T is one of the founding consortium members of Dossia.

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This just in, Microsoft’s HealthVault announced a partnership with AT&T and Covisint to enable healthcare data exchange across a highly distributed network.  While I have not had a chance to really dig into this announcement, it does appear, at least on the surface, to be quite an interesting partnership.

One of the most interesting aspects to this announcement is Covisint.  For those who may not remember the  dot-com hey-days of the late nineties, Covisint  was originally formed by the Big Three automakers with the purpose of creating a common architecture for e-Procurement and other supply chain enhancing functions.  Covisint never really did take-off, despite massive spending by the Big Three and Tier One suppliers.  Big problem came up when the automakers discovered that many of their pricing, contracts, and materials information were actually very proprietary and thus not suited for Covisint.  That left Covisint with commodity type products to attend to and there were simply not enough at sufficient margins to sustain the model.

Maybe their venture into healthcare will be more promising.  Covisint certainly has the secure data exchange angle well-covered.  Look to the AT&T/Covisint deal in Tennessee to understand more of where this may be going.

Will look into it further and possibly do a more in-depth report if warranted.  For

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