Health Care

E-records companies say 2010 looks good

Pulse Systems and MedAppz, both Wichita electronic health records companies, are expecting business to be good in 2010, thanks to health care reform and Medicare incentives.

The federal government is allocating billions to help health care practitioners make the switch to electronic health records over the next few years. Electronic records can help reduce health care costs and mistakes as providers are able to share information more easily.

Basil Hourani, president and CEO of Pulse Systems, estimates that electronic health records companies have a potential market of 750,000 customers between now and 2015.

"I think 2010 will be the first year of this expansion, but it will continue for many years," he said.

Brian Lichtlin, MedAppz chief executive, said sales slowed a bit in 2009 as potential customers waited for the federal government to finalize its requirements for "meaningful use" of electronic health records.

"A lot of people are still in the 'wait' mode," he said.

MedAppz just signed a three-year agreement with Med Assets, one of the largest group purchasing organizations in the country, he said. "Obviously, that's going to be a big focus for us in 2010."

Hourani said Pulse Systems has recently sold electronic health records systems to hospitals and practices in New York, Virginia, Rhode Island, Michigan and Texas.

Both men said they expect to add employees in 2010.

Lichtlin said MedAppz's sales force probably won't increase much, because it is working through partnerships it already has, but he expects to add to the 15 or 16 employees in the Wichita support center.

Hourani said Pulse Systems downsized in 2007 and the first part of 2008 but is building up again.

"We have aggressive plans in place," he said. "The business obviously is growing dramatically, from a revenue perspective and a business perspective."

Electronic health records can help individual practices with scheduling, billing and similar tasks.

They also can help on a wider scale, to share lab results or X-rays between providers, for example.