Health Care

E-health records vendors chosen

Wichita's Pulse Systems has been named one of eight vendor partners for the implementation of electronic health records in Kansas.

The Regional Extension Center of the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, based in Topeka, made the announcement this week.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner is also among the named vendors.

A KFMC official said the vendors were chosen after a year-long selection process by a 12-member committee that included Wichita physicians Terry Mills and Steven Zielke.

Michael Aldridge, director of the foundation's regional extension center, said the selections were based on requests for information and requests for proposals submitted by more than 30 companies that provide electronic health records software.

The companies that were selected as vendor partners have the certifications, software and support systems that allow doctors' offices and hospitals to meet electronic health records requirements, Aldridge said. Meeting those requirements will make providers eligible for Medicare and Medicaid incentives.

"We are not putting these forth as the only vendors," he said.

But most of the vendor partners selected have agreed to "make some contractual concessions that we think strengthens the contracts for providers," Aldridge said.

Those concessions include "favorable pricing" on EHR software and services, he said.

Basil Hourani of Pulse Systems said his company's selection as a vendor partner in Kansas will have a positive impact because it "gives us the opportunity to sell more product."

He said it also benefits the doctors' offices that Pulse Systems services because of the incentives they can receive from adopting electronic health records.

"It's just as good for our customers," Hourani said.

He said Pulse Systems also has been named a vendor partner in Massachusetts and Virginia.

"Missouri is to follow suit, and we expect to be on the short list," he said.

Aldridge said the majority of primary care practices in Kansas have not adopted EHR yet.

Hourani said in Kansas and across the U.S. fewer than 20 percent of doctors' offices have adopted EHR.

"There is a long way to go, obviously," he said.