Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has responded to the growing need for online medical records with plans to introduce a national service that allows any doctor to exchange medical records over any traditional computer or handheld device.
Set to be launched tomorrow, Secure Universal Message Services has been tested by nearly a dozen U.S. hospital systems and other medical customers.
As reported in Bloomberg, medical providers that pay a monthly fee will be able to share data, texts and e-mails on patient issues while complying with HIPPA medical privacy standards.
The medical industry is one of Verizon's largest customer segments. In 2011, the telco reported that about $5 billion of its $111 billion in revenue was with customers in the medical segment.
While it did not break down the growth of specific industry verticals, Verizon did say in its Q4 2012 report that strategic business services, including Terremark cloud and data center services, security and IT solutions and Ethernet increased 5.3 percent. All of those could be used to deliver the new medical service,
This service comes at a time when the Obama administration has called for the U.S. medical system to upgrade from a paper-based record system to a computerized system. Such a program, argue advocates, would drive more collaboration and communication between doctors and specialists.
"The vast majority of stuff shared by providers ends up not digitizable and it's a huge pain," said Peter Tippett, vice president of Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions, in an interview with Bloomberg. "There's huge savings in this. There's a huge easing of access and care."
Doctors' offices and hospitals that want to use the system will have to pay about $10 to $60 per month. Verizon's system will create an information exchange for hospitals to move data in addition to a web-based portal that will enable all participants in the patient care ecosystem, including doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers, to exchange messages and texts with one another.
- Bloomberg has this article
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