Stunning Announcement: AMA Goes to the Dogs in Deal With Physician Web Portal Company

DrDogWhat’s stunning about this deal is who its NOT with.  The AMA chose NOT to partner with any of the incumbent electronic medical record (EMR) companies, e.g., Allscripts, GE, Epic, NextGen, or many others.

For those of you who have not seen earlier posts in this series, please understand that the reference to “goes to the dogs” is a great compliment.

In a joint press release, the American Medical Association and Covisint unveiled an agreement yesterday:

Compuware Corporation (NASDAQ: CPWR) announced today that its Covisint subsidiary signed an agreement with the American Medical Association (AMA) to deploy an innovative health information exchange solution delivering value to its 240,000 member physicians and the physician population at large….

Covisint will enable AMA physicians to have access to a variety of health information technologies via an AMA-branded, web-based solution.  The AMA said it will use the Covisint platform to deliver to physicians a variety of products, services and resources aimed at increasing medical practice efficiency and facilitating the adoption of health information technology (HIT), including help with implementing electronic health records (EHRs). Current product categories that the AMA is exploring include: practice management tools, resources for professional development and clinical management services. The new platform will provide personalized content, search capabilities and learning and networking opportunities, among other valuable offerings

The features of Covisint’s offering are described on its website.

This deal is a  slap in the face to incumbent EMR vendors who have been attempting to develop the electronic plumbing in physicians’ offices for the past decade. You could interpret it as a vote of no-confidence in EMR vendor abilities to develop these web-based collaboration and care coordination tools.  It’s at least a strong expression of “we’re not going to wait around to see whether you can extend your existing EMRs with these types of capabilities”.

…and it’s a strong validation for the technologies and business models of emerging, innovative companies enabling EHR 2.0 capabilities, e.g., RMD Networks, Shared Health.

What are some other possible implications?

  • How will the AMA apply it’s political weight toward defining critical HITECH terminology such as “certification” and “meaningful use” of EHR technology.
  • Will the Covisint offering qualify for reimbursement under HITECH legislation?  Covisint’s current offering doesn’t appear to have the functionality of a traditional EMR.
  • How will the offering be priced? Can the AMA bring enough buying power to significantly reduce prices to physicians?
  • Will anyone actually buy the AMA branded Covisint offering? The AMA has been losing membership over the years. It does not have a reputation of cutting good business deals on behalf of members.  Finally, the AMA is specialist dominated, and while specialists are important, its far more strategic for the government to connect primary care physicians.
  • How will incumbent EMR vendors react? The AMA’s validation of web-based technologies tends to commoditize the traditional EMR and move it to looking  more like a back-end data repository than a front-end, high value-added collaboration and coordination tool.

Disclosure: RMD Networks is a client of Better Health Technologies.

4 thoughts on “Stunning Announcement: AMA Goes to the Dogs in Deal With Physician Web Portal Company

  1. Pingback: arthurwlane
  2. As a reseller for the “incumbent” EMR companies – it’s definitely an interesting twist to the already convoluted HIT marketplace. It seems that nobody quite yet has been able to deliver a lightweight, inexpensive communications tool that catches fire and truly has useful application in the day-to-day world of ambulatory physicians.

    Part of the problem we see is that it seems that the offerings are getting increasingly complex, requiring a PhD just to make a smart purchasing decision for a practice. The questions become, can physicians enter into yet another technological/website relationship that takes up even more time? What about implementation of the EMR? What about Twitter and Facebook? (tongue-in-cheek, but who has the time for all of this? Isn’t there, like, some patient care that needs to happen?)

    Obviously there will be a lot more demand for ambulatory practice consultants in the near future to help ordinary practices make smart decisions and integrate existing technologies with new ones.

  3. The AMA announcement only references the ability of the Covisnt platform to exchange data with Microsoft HealthVault. The AMA is actively engaged with EHR vendors in making their products available to physicians. It is also engaging other organizations that can improve the ability of physicians to care for patients with chronic diseases.

    Further announcements about the portal are available on

  4. “Obviously there will be a lot more demand for ambulatory practice consultants in the near future to help ordinary practices make smart decisions and integrate existing technologies with new ones.”

    This is absolutely correct. I don’t know how anyone can expect these physician offices to all the sudden have the IT knowledge to make an appropriate and effective decision for their office. Less than 1% of physician offices have CIOs so much of the decision is resting upon the physician. Most office managers are incapable of making a good decision which means that integration, adoption, and assimilation are going to be a serious issue for most offices. Many doctors have stayed away from technology because they either A don’t understand it, or B, they think it is a waste of time.

Comments are closed.