Clipboard: eClinicalWorks rising in market for electronic medical records, patient tools

Robert Weisman of the Globe staff reports in Wednesday’s Globe that eClinicalWorks, already a leader in electronic health records used by hospitals and doctors, is making a push for the consumer market.

The Westborough company announced today that it will invest $25 million over the next year in developing tools to make health information available to patients. The company said it will launch a free mobile application later this month to give real-time access to patients whose doctors use its systems to manage records. The app also will provide a portal for communication between doctors and patients.

“In order to transform health care, patients need to be engaged,” Chief Executive Girish Kumar Navani said in a company press release. “People are invested in and want to be engaged in their health as long as they trust the source of the information.”

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Eventually, Navani told Weisman, the app could include cost and health care quality data. Weisman writes:

While there already are hundreds of health care apps — many of them free — most are designed to provide information about medical conditions and help people monitor diets or fitness programs. But there are seldom doctors behind such apps.

By contrast, the eClinicalWorks app will be “interoperable” with the records of its customers — about 72,800 physicians offices serving some 8 million consumers nationwide — who are betting improved communications between doctors and patients will ultimately make for better health outcomes.

The company made headlines recently when it landed a 10-year contract to manage medical records for the NFL in a system that teams can access from the sidelines as they travel the country.

Weisman notes that eClinicalWorks ranked fifth in 2011 for overall electronic health records sales, including hardware, software, and services. But the firm leads the software-only segment of the market.