Healthcare software vendors MDanywhere Technologies, Baltimore, and MobiHealth, Arlington, Va., have completed the merger they first announced in September.
The company will continue as MDanywhere Technologies, with that company's management remaining in control of the combined firm. MobiHealth will act as a division of MDanywhere Technologies.
MDanywhere, founded in 1999 as a development of the Johns Hopkins Emerging Technologies Incubator, sells electronic medical records systems for hospitals and physician offices, as well as practice-management systems. MobiHealth specializes in wireless clinical applications such as electronic prescription writing and charge-capture tools for the physician office practice.
MDanywhere had mobile applications before the merger, according to MDanywhere Chief Executive Officer Gary O'Gwen, who retains that position with the combined companies. But MDanywhere's mobile products were designed to work with its own EMR and practice-management systems, he said. "MobiHealth is perfect to deploy as a stand-alone mobile tool. It just expanded our market to physicians who use everybody else's (backshop) stuff."
Despite what he described as "a record year so far," O'Gwen, unlike many leaders of healthcare information technology companies, says he doesn't see a dam breaking anytime soon in healthcare IT.
"There are plenty of EMRs and imaging systems to get data when you want it," he said. "The culture isn't there yet. Prescription-writing is starting to get some traction in the marketplace because of the government mandate. The Medicare reform act requires it eventually, (so) it's getting some attention. Everybody talks about it."
But in healthcare, "change involves culture," O'Gwen said. "Although there are pockets of extremely innovative technology in the world, there are also pockets of 20 years of legacy systems doing the same thing."
O'Gwen said he sees government having a role in pushing IT adoption by using both carrots of incentives and sticks of regulation "like HIPAA; no one would have done it if the government hadn't made it happen.
"The same with e-prescription. It makes good sense, but without the carrot, the physician in his small practice isn't going to go out and spend the money."
O'Gwen sees Medicare eventually paying a higher reimbursement to physicians who use EMRs and e-prescribing.
Change is inexorable, however.
"We just did a mobile fair at Johns Hopkins," O'Gwen said. "It was directed at students. They're all wired. Technology is part of their growing up. They're ready for it. It makes sense to them, From a business sense, you don't have to do a sales job. It fits into their culture. So it's going to happen. It just doesn't happen fast enough."