HealthTap adds operating system to bridge gaps in health records

A deal with a New Zealand health board also underscores its ambitions beyond the U.S. market.

HealthTap, a health IT business which has evolved its service for patients to send questions to a pool of doctors about symptoms, with telemedicine, lab testing and other services, is branching out with what it describes as an operating system.

It tries to solve the quandry that direct to consumer health services pose: balancing the demand for easy access to after hours treatment for short-term non emergency healthcare needs and improve continuity with patient’s electronic medical record.

HealthTap views its operating system, HOPE, as a way to bridge that gap. It includes things like patient responses to the most common health questions, an documents for doctors and patients to connect through video, voice, or texting, scheduling and billing services, e-prescribing and lab test order forms. It also sees a way to use its operating system to make it easier for practices to connect with patients through email and texting.

In a statement it described the operating system this way:

“…it’s built for hospitals, clinics, and health systems, and is designed to integrate patient interactions they’ve never touched before (such as browsing and searching peer-reviewed doctor content, ongoing engagement data etc.), while allowing for the delivery of secure virtual care. It also provides new interfaces and dashboards for doctors and administrators to deliver the right care at the right time at the right cost.”

It’s an ambitious move for the company but I’m not sure how helpful it will be for the U.S. market ambitions for the new service that the only group interested in being on the record for using the operating system is a regional health board in New Zealand. The country recently agreed to adopt a single electronic health record system, which would be much easier to integrate compared with the myriad EHR systems in the U.S. market. On the other hand, it may play very well in non-US markets and offer a way to apply its services to single payer systems.

The company suggests the operating system can integrate with any EHR system. Given the increasing appetite for on demand, after hours healthcare services from drugstore chains like Walgreens and CVS as well as telemedicine and concierge care company services, it will be interesting to see how many other companies take on the challenge of how to easily integrate details of these interactions with EMRs.

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