Who is athenahealth?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Athenahealth, Brightree’s newest partner, is a 16-year-old public company that counts more than 50,000 physician practices as customers. Its roots are in revenue cycle management services, but it has expanded into electronic health record (EHR), patient communication and, most recently, care coordination services. Here’s what Mike Maus, vice president of enterprise solutions, had to say about the future of healthcare technology.

HME News: It seemed like, initially, there was a big push to get all the healthcare players to conduct their businesses electronically. Now that a good number are doing that, the next push seems to be getting all of these players to talk to each other as care becomes more and more integrated.

Mike Maus: We have an interesting view on this. We don’t think there will be one base system that everyone will use. We think it’s more important for everyone to be able to talk very well together.

HME: So athenahealth wants its system to talk to its competitors’ systems?

Maus: We’ve gotten together with other players and developed a Commonwealth Alliance. We’re committed, even though we’re competitors, to make sure our systems can talk to each other.

HME: The government has played a major role in the EHR movement by offering meaningful use incentives to physicians that transition their businesses.

Maus: We don’t just want to keep up with the government; we want to stay ahead of them. We can’t sit around and wait for them to dictate. We want to take the lead and find a way to get a standard that we can all work off of.

HME: Where do you see these efforts heading?

Maus: One of our goals for the future is for users to see one patient view—they can look into the EHR and see what’s going on with that patient from a hospital perspective, from an outpatient perspective. We think care coordination services is the next big step.

HME: That’s where the allure of Brightree and tapping into its HME provider customers comes into play?

Maus: We could have individually gone out and signed up everyone for our care coordination services, but it would have taken us years for what, hopefully, we will accomplish in a matter of months. With Brightree, we will be more closely linked for care coordination purposes to patients with those home healthcare organizations.