Dell Inc. hopes to expand a key part of its business through a deal to sell computer hardware and technology consulting to medical practices that want to use new electronic medical records and related services from the American Medical Association.
Dell's announcement was timed for Monday's start of the annual health care technology conference hosted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
Hospitals and medical practices have been customers for Dell's computers, servers and data storage devices. But the PC maker increased its stake in the ongoing shift from paper to digital medical records when it spent $3.9 billion for Perot Systems Inc., a technology services company. About half of Perot's consulting business came from hospitals and other health care providers.
So far, the transition toward medical records has been slow, particularly among smaller medical practices because the upfront costs are high. But the business opportunity in health care technology widened after the passage of the stimulus bill, which set aside billions of dollars for hospitals and health care providers to adopt electronic medical records.
Dell said that under the deal it will provide technology consulting, computer hardware and follow-up support for doctors who decide to use new software from the American Medical Association. The system is aimed at doctors who aren't closely affiliated with a larger hospital, and it includes Web-based tools for writing electronic prescriptions, ordering and viewing lab results and storing patient medical records.
Dell and the AMA said the system is being tested in Michigan and will roll out nationally later this year.
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