A steering committee last week chose three finalists to present their cases for building a community health information network to serve the entire Chicago metropolitan area.
The finalists are partnerships possessing the technology specialties and expertise required to construct a CHIN, which experts acknowledge is still a learn-as-you-go undertaking. Among the unknowns is money-there is no official estimate of what the project might cost.
An expected mid-October selection by a coalition of hospitals and other healthcare interests will be a big win or a big loss for some of the largest software, telecommunications and consulting firms serving the industry.
Under the direction of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, the steering committee screened bidders for their ability to deploy a wide range of components, said Karen Hackett, council vice president. Those components range from connective hardware and system integration to specific content requirements and the capacity to run the CHIN.
The council selected prime contractors, each with a number of companies joining as subcontractors. They are:
Shared Medical Systems, prime contractor and healthcare information software vendor. Partners are AT&T Healthcare Solutions, a supplier of connective hardware and software; National Electronic Information Corp., an electronic claims processor; PCS Health Systems, a pharmacy billing network; Coopers & Lybrand's healthcare consulting practice; Illinois Medical Information Network, a physician/hospital data transfer network established by CHIN technology vendor Integrated Medical Systems; and Medical Electronic Data Exchange, an electronic claims eligibility and processing firm.
Health Communications Services, prime contractor and electronic claims and eligibility processor, working as a subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Virginia. Partners are HBO & Co., an information system software vendor; Hewlett-Packard Co., supplier of computer hardware and operating technology; Hughes LAN Systems, supplier of connective system technology; and Deloitte and Touche's healthcare consulting practice.
Ameritech, prime contractor and comprehensive telecommunications company. Ameritech plans to supply all the technologies in partnership with Ernst & Young's healthcare consulting practice (See related story below).
Ms. Hackett said the bidders will present their services Sept. 12 and 13, and an exhibit will be set up Sept. 14 for all council members to evaluate service demonstrations.