Health IT Business News Wrap-up – October 14, 2012

This Week’s Health IT Business News

Can online social networks help get you healthier? GE Healthcare will look at this question as part of their final phase aimed at increasing awareness of the impact of healthy lifestyles and fitness on cancer prevention. To that end, the company is hosting a virtual  roundable on October 18 at 11 am Eastern when a group of academic, physician and communications experts will gather to discuss this issue. This is an open invitation to listen in and participate through Twitter using hashtage #socialhealth. Register here to participate. Please note the time listed is 16:00 BST (British Summer Time). If I’ve done my math right, that is 11 am on the east coast, 5 hours behind.

Nuance and Cerner announced this week they have expanded their relationship. Under a new agreement, Cerner will embed Nuance’s cloud-based medical voice recognition software into its portfolio of mobile EHR solutions. Company spokespersons say  this will create “a new class of mobile healthcare solutions on phones and tablets that enable clinicians to capture more complete patient notes, navigate applications and search for information while on-the-go – simply by using their voice.” In addition, Cerner and Nuance will also integrate Nuance’s radiology reporting suite, PowerScribe 360, with Cerner’s RadNet® Radiology Information System (RIS).

athenahealth announced it is looking to expand its Watertown, Massachusetts headquarters  t0 1 million square feet. According to a report by the Boston Business Journal the company, which employs 2,200 people, including 900 at its headquarters in Watertown, is expanding its workforce. It also needs additional space to support its business development strategy, which includes incubating new health IT startups in-house.

Consulting and outsourcing giant Accenture has won a five-year contract from the Norwegian Directorate of Health. According to the contract, Accenture will help set up Norway’s EHR system. According to the terms of the agreement, the Norwegian Directorate of Health, along with Accenture will help in deploying a single, national EHR system. The database will include information related to demographics, clinical history, physician interactions, diagnostic assessments, medications, procedures and patient interaction.

In other contract news this week the National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded ICF International a three-year, $45 million task order to continue providing biomedical, health and disaster information management services. Under this contract, ICF will continue to provide support for multiple NIH Institutes and Centers, including the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the National Cancer Institute, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and other NIH partner agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In addition, the company will support key programs related to HIV/AIDS, genetics, cancer, rare diseases, dietary supplements, clinical trials, and other federal health initiatives.

The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs have awarded Systems Made Simple (SMS) a one year contract worth more than $11 million to provide management and technical support services for the departments’ integrated electronic health record initiative. “Our extensive history with the VA and significant work within the federal healthcare IT space makes us well-positioned to deliver successful results through the iEHR contract,” said Ron Fishbeck, CEO of SMS.

South Shore Health Systems, an individual practice association (IPA) supporting over 600 physicians based in New York, has selected Practice Fusion’s free web-based EHR system. According to the press release Practice Fusion will provide on-site training for the SSHS team.

In personnel moves this week it was announced that Jerry Baker, former president and CEO of health exchange provider Halfpenny Technologies, has been named Sr. VP and general manager of  Medecision, a provider of health care management systems.