Tag Archives: Salesforce.com

SaaS Based Electronic Health Record System (and it’s free)

I’m pretty excited to find out about a SaaS based EHR system, Practice Fusion, that is also free…completely free including support.  And unlike most “free” SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions they don’t have a “lite” version that’s free while trying to up-sell you to the “professional” version for a fee.  According to their website “There are no hidden charges, consultant fees, software costs or support subscriptions. Licensing, hosting, training and support are all included. Your practice always retains ownership of its data and you can export any time if needed.”

News flash! If you have a medical practice that qualifies for $44,000 in economic stimulus incentives for adopting an EHR as specified in the HITECH Act…and you adopt a “free” EHR package…then obviously you get to pocket the entire $44,000.

Practice Fusion runs on Salesforce.com‘s cloud development platform, Force.com, the Cadillac of cloud app development platforms. And recently Dell, Inc. announced a partnership to bundle hardware with Practice Fusion’s SaaS solution including zero interest financing (for 3 months) for medical practices.

Unlike on premise client/server solutions a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution runs completely in the cloud. So you don’t have the expense of servers and even more importantly the people resources that are necessary to support the servers. Your annual savings with a SaaS solution can easily be 10’s of thousands of dollars over what you would pay for a solution requiring on premise hardware maintenance and support.

I took advantage of Practice Fusion’s academic program to signup for an account and have been reviewing their extensive library of youtube training videos.   The availability of these videos make learning Practice Fusion’s features a snap.

So who’s using a SaaS EHR solution? On their website they claim that over 30,000 physicians and practice managers in 50 states currently use Practice Fusion’s Electronic Health Record which sounds pretty impressive to me.

So what’s the catch? How do these guys make money? Well Practice Fusion is an ad-supported product. On their website they say “medical advertising placements are non-intrusive, completely private and never pop-up.” And if you really can’t stand the ads then  you can switch to an ad-free version for a $100 a month per practitioner at any time.

Given that  the top driver for slow adoption of Electronic Health Records is misalignment of costs and benefits then Practice Fusion stands to make a significant impact in this market.

CloudForce 2010

A inventory application created in real time with Force.com in this breakout session

For the past few years I have attended this annual afternoon event by Salesforce.com which is usually held at the Buckhead Westin.   As always this was an impressive first class event with food, drinks, give-aways, informative keynotes, and breakouts on the latest Salesforce technologies.  Every year I learn something new and leave feeling  freshly inspired and encouraged about cloud technology in general.  As usual the event was packed with 300-400 attendees.

The keynote always starts out with a definition of cloud computing…(1) multi-tenant, (2) pay as you go, (3) realtime, and (4) auto upgrades and then provides an update on Salesforce statistics in terms of growth and customers. Salesforce now has grown to 72,500 paying customers,  all without traditional marketing…basically word of mouth.  Salesforce is ISO 27001 certified for those who worry about security in the cloud and boasts three global data centers…east coast, west coast, and Singapore.

Basically Salesforce wants to take the best of the consumer web and bring it to their customers. To meet this goal they are rolling out a new service called Chatter Collaboration Cloud, with a very facebook like feature set and designed into all of the Saleforce products. Like Facebook Chatter has a “wall” containing update posts from people, objects (like documents), events, and even Salesforce entities like Contacts.  Chatter is currently in beta and will be available to all customers free of charge later in 2010.

Besides free food and beer/wine give-a-ways included three books, “Salesforce.com for Dummies“, “Service Cloud for Dummies”, and “Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry.”

Ok this year I really am going to take my new found inspiration, along with my Force.com workbook, “Building your first cloud app in 30 minutes,” along with my free Force.com developers account, create a fantastic application, and add it to AppExchange, Salesforce.com’s online marketplace for applications built with Force.com. Or maybe I’ll just return to this same Salesforce.com event in 2011 who knows.