Intermedia, Automation Anywhere and Challenge.gov each are gaining some attention in the healthcare vertical. Here's a look at each solution and the potential implications for managed services providers (MSPs) working within the healthcare sector.

Let's start with Intermedia. The company, which markets hosted Exchange services through MSPs, now offers MSPs a healthcare-related add-on. Indeed, Intermedia provides Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance templates as part of its e-mail encryption service. The templates provide a list of rules to determine if an e-mail contains information that requires encryption.

Intermedia’s e-mail encryption service has applicability beyond healthcare, but the company is initially focusing on that sector, noted Bob Leibholz, senior vice president of business development at Intermedia. He said 1,700 seats have been sold since the service debuted a few weeks ago. The vast majority of those seats are in healthcare settings, he added.

“Encryption ... is needed for a number of industries, but we specifically provided the healthcare template because there is such a demand in the healthcare world,” Leibholz said.

The HIPAA templates include compliance code sets, keywords and policies, according to Intermedia. Those rules call for encryption on the basis of Current Procedure Terminology (CPT) and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes, for example. Intermedia updates the templates every couple of months to keep them compliant with HIPAA.

Leibholz said MSPs can sell the templates and encrypted e-mail as a differentiated service and also wrap professional services around the offering.

Automation Anywhere

Let's switch gears and take a look at Automation Anywhere -- through the eyes of David Mizrahi. As president and CEO of Optimax Consulting Services, Mizrahi has overseen more than 2,000 health IT projects and has discovered something in the process: a need for automation tools.

Mizrahgi, a consultant and reseller specializing in healthcare, said despite the availability of healthcare-specific applications, a lot of repetitive tasks still need to be automated. He cited the example of creating and distributing reports for a dozen doctors in a practice. “There are hundreds of scenarios like that,” he said.

Optimax recently started using a business and IT automation tool from Automation Anywhere. Mizrahi said he has been using the product to support workflow optimization projects at healthcare practices and clinics. He noted that Automation Anywhere can help address the workflow challenges of the federal “meaningful use” program, which offers financial incentives to healthcare providers meeting the government’s criteria for deploying electronic health records.

Mizrahi cited one meaningful use criterion, which calls for providers to give clinical summaries to patients within 72 hours of an office visit. In the initial phase of the meaningful use program, doctors are required to provide those summaries for more than 50 percent of the office visits. Mizrahi said Automation Anywhere has the flexibility to deal with such criteria.

Look or Automation Anywhere to pursue more channel partners. A spokesman for the company noted that the company is in the early stages of getting its channel program off the ground.

Crowdsourcing for Health

Finally, let's look at the crowdsourcing trend within government agencies and the healthcare vertical.

The America Competes Act paved the way for more agencies to conduct crowdsourcing challenges, in which an agency states a problem and offers a prize for the winning solution. A challenge isn’t the typical procurement method, but it provide another way to enter the difficult-to-penetrate government market.

Challenge.gov, an online platform that the General Service Administration oversees, provides one challenge venue. A recent glance at Challenge.gov shows that health ranks second only to science and technology as the category featuring the most challenges. In one example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering $35,000 in prices for mobile or Web applications that make use of CDC flu data.

While Challenge.gov cuts across government, individual agencies also host challenges. The Department of Veterans Affairs is conducting an industry innovation competition. Topics for this year’s competition include personal health records and telemedicine.

We'll be watching to see if MSPs participate -- or at least monitor -- the crowdsourcing trend.

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