Prime Prognosis: Norman Business Banking on Increased Market for Electronic Health Records

Article excerpt

Jason Doyle Oden, left, and Agi Lurtz of Online Medsource in Norman are preparing the company to become a certified vendor for electronic health records. Once they achieve certification, they will begin marketing their product to physicians looking to implement an electronic health record. (Maike Sabolich)"][/ caption]NORMAN - As an entrepreneur, Agi Lurtz has always looked for ways to diversify and grow her business.

Her latest venture - certifying her company, Online Medsource, as an electronic health record vendor - stands to catapult the business to another level.

When Online Medsource was incorporated in 2001, Lurtz was driven to fill a need. She was serving as a caregiver for her parents, and her father was especially fatigued at having to fill out clipboards' worth of duplicate paperwork at every doctor's visit. The foundation of Lurtz's business was the development of a personal health record, a free service in which patients can track and share their medical history without repeatedly filling out the same forms.

Today, that first product, along with a patented way of securely gathering, storing and sharing information, has morphed into an electronic health record. The product positions Online Medsource to be a major player in the world of EHRs. Physicians, in order to become compliant with EHR requirements, can receive federal stimulus money when they achieve "meaningful use" of a certified EHR - up to $44,000 for a Medicare practice and up to $63,750 for a Medicaid practice.

Online Medsource is preparing itself to capture some of that funding by contracting with physicians' offices to serve as their EHR vendor. Estimates show that less than 20 percent of Oklahoma doctors have started the process of going electronic, so the market is prime for the business.

"From the beginning, our system has been intuitive and easy," Lurtz said. "We built the system around what physicians said they wanted."

On July 14, the certification requirements for potential EHR vendors were released, as well as "meaningful use" criteria of an EHR for physicians, said Jason Doyle Oden, director of marketing and communications for Online Medsource. That information allows the company's programmers to fine-tune its EHR product, called ART Chart (Accurate Record Tracking).

One of the certification requirements is that the EHR contain a provider order entry that allows doctors to order X-rays and lab work via computer, instead of calling or faxing the order, Oden said. The EHR also must be able to calculate body mass index and allow physicians to see the results from a patient's last several appointments, among other things.

The company also is working on its ART Chart so that it contains what is necessary for physicians to achieve "meaningful use" of it. For example, when a physician adopts a certified EHR, at least 30 percent of new patients who are receiving prescriptions must be given those prescriptions through "e-prescribe," rather than a handwritten prescription.

"Our EHR has to calculate that for them, so they can go back into the system when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requests a report to see the percentage," Oden said. …